I’m posting this now because the last Winter Meetings thread is getting awfully long. Feel free to use this as a general thread as well as one for the draft tomorrow.
The Rule 5 draft takes place at noon ET Thursday. As of the time I’m writing this, they don’t appear to have made the Jordan Lyles signing official, so they could draft a player and clear a roster spot later once Lyles signs. That puts them in a position where they can just wait and see whether anybody interesting is available at #17, which is where they pick (although a couple teams ahead of them currently have full rosters).
I’m not sure how likely it is that they’ll pick somebody, although there’s little downside to bringing somebody to camp and seeing what happens. They already have Nick Burdi, who has to stay on the roster for the first two months of the season and who’s probably better than anybody they’re likely to be able to pick. Vlad mentioned the other day that the possibilities aren’t impressive and that’s what I’d say after reading Baseball America’s preview. Among other things, BA says teams have had little success with left-handed relievers in recent years.
UPDATE: Some Huntington comments:
Huntington on whether Pirates will take someone in the Rule 5: "“It’s tough to carry a Rule 5 pick when you’re competing. It’s that much tougher to carry two. That said, it is an access to talent. We’ll see how the draft plays out. We have some guys we’re talking about."— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) December 13, 2018
Neal Huntington on Thursday's Rule 5 draft: "“We feel like we’ve protected the players that we needed to protect in our minds."— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) December 13, 2018
UPDATE: And, not surprisingly, the Pirates passed in the major league phase. They also didn’t lose anybody. There were only 14 picks, which I’m pretty sure is lower than normal. That confirms Vlad’s view that this was a weak pool.
UPDATE 2: In the minor league phase, the Pirates selected two low-level players: OF Randolph Gassaway from Baltimore and RHP Winston Nicacio from St. Louis. They lost upper-level corner bat Jordan George and organizational catcher Rafelin Lorenzo.