A lot of this has been mentioned in comments, but I thought I’d gather it all here, like raking up lawn clippings. Nothing very dramatic.
UPDATE: There was one piece of actual, although totally expected, news. The Pirates do not expect Jung-Ho Kang back and are proceeding on the assumption that he won’t return.
Frank Coonelly: We've gone into this offseason with the notion that Jung Ho Kang, regrettably, won't be on our team.— Liz Bloom (@BloomPG) December 9, 2017
Neal Huntington on possibility Jung Ho Kang could return: "We don't think it's going to happen."— Liz Bloom (@BloomPG) December 9, 2017
Oh, and Sean Rodriguez thinks the Pirates didn’t do enough to keep the team in contention after the 98-win season in 2015. Then again, he also thinks the team has the core in place to win now, which raises some doubt about his judgment.
A lot of the usual . . . payroll tied to revenue, up to the team to attract fans, etc. Coonelly would vote for a salary cap, just like I would vote for world peace. Coonelly did say that there’s no set payroll limit. He also said they were ready to exceed $100M last year when the Kang and Marte situations arose. Most sources seem to have them right around $100M now. If there was any substance to the Jaime Garcia rumor, they’re apparently prepared to exceed that by at least a bit.
Coonelly said the $45M influx from the sale of BAMTech won’t be received until next year. He added that it will be reinvested in the team. I’m always bemused by the notion that, every time the Pirates sell an extra hot dog, it should immediately show up in the form of a dollar-for-dollar increase in payroll. I don’t believe their payroll has been what it needed to be, or should have been, the last two years, but the impact of an influx of cash on payroll wouldn’t logically be that simple. For one thing, this is one-shot revenue. Only an idiot would add $45M to the payroll knowing it’d have to come back out the next year.
It doesn’t sound like anything came out beyond the usual platitudes about improving the team. It’s possible they realize they can’t win with the current roster and resources, but they’re keeping quiet about it because telegraphing the fact that you want to move certain players just makes negotiating harder. Or maybe they’re just waiting on events to force their hand. I tend to think that, if you’re deciding among three options -- trying to win now, rebuilding, or playing it by ear — the last one is by far the least likely to succeed.
For whatever reason, about the most informative stuff I’ve seen involved the Nightmare. For one, he said he’d be open to a long-term deal. Huntington, when asked, said it was news to him and good to hear. Rivero’s new agent is supposed to meet with the team soon, probably to discuss his upcoming arbitration. Rivero has four more years of control left and I’m not sure it’s a good idea to commit to a reliever even for that long, much less longer, even when the reliever is this good. Still, he might be willing to exchange an option year or two for some security now in the form of salaries above what he’d get in his first year or two or arbitration.
Also on workload:
#Pirates Rivero made 73 outings this past season after pitching in 75 games the year before. So far this offseason? "I didn’t do anything for like two weeks. I was taking naps everywhere. In the pool, everywhere. I was tired."— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) December 9, 2017
I don’t know whether this was the reason Clint Hurdle backed off the multi-inning save bit; if you recall, Rivero had a string of four- and five-out saves when he first took over the closer’s job. I’m glad Hurdle did, though, and I hope Rivero doesn’t pitch in winter ball. Of course, I kinda hope he just stays away from Venezuela altogether (and gets his loved ones out). Can’t imagine what it’s like to be in that situation.
Finally, Rivero said his sister made the call on dumping Scott Boras. Sounds like she just didn’t like him. Maybe she found him creepy. I don’t know, what do you think?
I guess somebody there was interested in the farm system, as Huntington said Kramer will probably be a second baseman long-term.