Minor league free agency has arrived and it appears the Pirates have only seven (sub. req’d). And three of the seven were originally signed by the Pirates, rather than signing after leaving other systems. Back in the Littlefield days, the Pirates commonly had 25-30 free agents every year, most or all of them players brought in to shore up the minor league rosters. So the current front office is doing a nice job of developing AAA players. It’s that next step that’s eluding them.
Anyway, the seven are catchers Jin-De Jhang and Jackson Williams, third basemen Eric Wood and Wyatt Mathisen, outfielder Daniel Nava, and right-handers Bo Schultz and Damien Magnifico. Jhang, Wood and Mathisen are the most noteworthy, as all three looked like prospects at different times during up-and-down careers. Mathisen, as a second-round draft pick, was the most prominent of the group. It’s possible any of them could re-sign with the Pirates, but there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity available, except maybe for Jhang.
John Dreker points out two players who were eligible for free agency but weren’t listed as free agents. Those would be infielder Alfredo Reyes and left-hander Nik Turley. MLB’s reporting of minor league transactions isn’t always reliable, so it’s conceivable they might be free agents, but it’s also possible they signed minor league deals to return in 2019. Reyes is an upper-level utility player. Turley is possibly a little more interesting. The Pirates acquired him on a waiver claim from the Twins a year ago, but he got suspended for 80 games for PED use and then missed the rest of the season with an elbow strain. Before the suspension, he seemed to be in line to compete for a bullpen spot.