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Pirates news this week

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates made some moves this week signing OF Guillermo Heredia to major league deal and and C John Ryan Murphy to a minor league deal. They also settled on deals with all eight arbitration-eligible players.

Signings

Guillermo Heredia - Last season, the 28-year-old Heredia appeared in 89 games with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 215 plate appearances, he hit .225/.306/.363 with five home runs and 13 doubles. He also posted a career best hard-hit rate of 29.3 percent. Heredia is seen as a defense-first outfielder and can play all three spots. He is not elite defensively, but he is sollid. Right now with the Pirates, Heredia would serve as the fourth outfielder. Of course if Starling Marte is traded, that could change. At the very least, Heredia was good enough for someone to create a 2019 highlight video of him.

John Ryan Murphy - When Spring Training comes, Murphy will attempt to compete with Luke Maile for the backup catcher position. More than likely though, this is just a depth move as Maile was given a major league contract and Murphy was given a minor league contract. Like Heredia, Murphy prioritizes defense first at his position. Last season, Murphy hit .175/.246/.413 with four home runs in 70 plate appearances.

Quick thoughts...

Obviously the Pirates aren’t turning heads with their free agent signings this winter. Nobody expected them to. That said, it seems as though Ben Cherington and friends are putting an enphasis on finding solid defenders, even if the offensive production lacks. Perhaps the organization is pushing a defense-first philosophy that will lead to overall defensive success. Last season, the Pirates weren’t great defensively, ranking 23rd in defensive fWAR.

Arbitration signings

The Pirates settled with all eight arbitration-eligible players yesterday. No hearings will be necessary. Here’s what we got.

  • Josh Bell - $4.8 million
  • Keone Kela - $3.725 million
  • Trevor Williams - $2.825 million
  • Adam Frazier - $2.8 million
  • Joe Musgrove - $2.8 million
  • Jameson Taillon - $2.25 million
  • Michael Feliz - $1.1 million
  • Chad Kuhl - $840,000

If you’re keeping score at home, this puts the current Pirates’ payroll at just over $60 million.