There’s a good podcast at Baseball America — which is not in the subscriber area — on the Pirates’ farm system. The good news is that the guys on the podcast raved about Mitch Keller. It’s worth a listen. Among other things, scouts that BA talked to said Keller went into the AFL with a 45 change and came out with a 55.
The discussion on Austin Meadows is not so optimistic. In doing the International League top 20 this year, BA found no support for Meadows. Ugh.
The BA guys aren’t real high on Kevin Newman, either, due to a sense that he lacks any particularly strong tool. In particular, he lacks power and his speed was grading out below average late in the year. The BA guys seemed more interested in Cole Tucker.
Also some discussion about Luis Escobar and Taylor Hearn.
On the international front, the Pirates have made a couple more signings:
Pittsburgh Pirates are making it a Christmas tradition to sign RHP's named Nova at this time of year. Last year it was Ivan, today they signed 19-year-old RHP Luis Nova as an int'l amateur free agent. Also got a 17 yr old LHP. Spending some of that remaining int'l bonus pool $$$— John Dreker (@JohnDreker) December 21, 2017
The lefty is named Abraham Rosario. It’s not known yet what country either comes from. The Pirates also voided (sub. req’d) the contract of 20-year-old right hander Wandi Encarnacion, who was not a prominent signee.
Finally, there’s the report that talks between the Pirates and Yankees about Gerrit Cole have cooled. The assumption seems to be that the sticking point is Gleyber Torres, but I wouldn’t necessarily make that assumption. I don’t think the Pirates got anywhere near as close to trading Andrew McCutchen to Washington as the media reports had it.
UPDATE: As Thunder noted, the Cole talks with the Yankees suddenly became uncool, or something.
Sources: The New York Yankees are working on a deal to acquire starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sides are talking, and while a final package has not come together, there is confidence. "A matter of when rather than if," one source said.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 22, 2017
The Yankees at this point are the likeliest destination for Gerrit Cole, but if that falls through, sources believe Pittsburgh is highly motivated to trade him. Likelihood Cole moves is very strong.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 22, 2017