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Sanders In, Diaz Out, Gonzalez Signed

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Yesterday was a busy day for the Pirates.

We’ll start with some encouraging news—it was announced that Steve Sanders, former director of amateur scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays, has been hired by the Pirates as assistant general manager. This hire shows that GM Ben Cherington is serious about improving the Pirates’ woeful farm system. Although only 31 years old, Sanders already has had a big hand in overhauling the Jays’ drafts while he worked with Cherington, and the Bucs need all the help they can get in that area.

In unsurprising news, catcher Elias Diaz was non-tendered. As I wrote in my October twenty-second article, he proved unreliable behind the plate, his batting stats were just as bad, and the Pirates are not going to pay $1.4 million to a guy with a .241 batting average who also came in last place in a ton of defensive categories. Supposedly he’s in the New York Mets’ sights, proving that there are teams more desperate than the Pirates. While Jacob Stallings is adequate, this is a free agent’s job to take, but so far there haven’t been any blips on the radar as of yet.

In other unsurprising news, the Bucs agreed to a contract with infielder Erik Gonzalez. Gonzalez came to the Pirates with high expectations, but broke his collarbone and was out for most of the season. However, when he came back he proved impressive at the plate, including an eleven-game hitting streak where he batted .333 with an OPS of .735. It seems the best place for him would be third base, since Colin Moran doesn’t seem to be the answer, but he can spell Kevin Newman or Adam Frazier as well.

Ben Cherington is making moves and cutting dead weight, and so far Bob Nutting doesn’t seem to be tying his hands. Things seem to be looking up.