The Pittsburgh Pirates made a flurry of signings yesterday.
They started their day with the signings of 15 international players, headlined by the 11th ranked international prospect overall (according to MLB Pipeline), Shalin Polanco. At 16 years old, the 5’11 outfielder was described by General Manager Ben Cherington as “an athletic outfielder and promising left-handed hitter with power potential.”
Here is a look at the rest of the Pirates international signings from yesterday.
Although most of these players won’t reach the majors for another five or so years at least, it is encouraging to see the Pirates active in this market as they continue to replenish their farm system.
The Pirates also signed former Washington Nationals’ infielder Wilmer Difo to a minor league contract. Last season, the 28-year-old Difo struggled in a limited 18 plate appearances as he hit .071/.222/.071.
In 2019, Difo hit .252/.315/.313 with two home runs in 144 plate appearances. In 2018, when he had a career-high in plate appearances at 456, Difo hit .230/.298/.350 with seven home runs, seven triples, and 14 doubles. Career-wise, he has an OPS+ of 72. This signing won’t turn any heads, but it does add depth to the Pirates’ infield.
Finally, the Pirates were able to sign each of their arbitration-eligible players, thus avoiding the dreaded arbitration hearing.
Per sources, breakdown of Pirates signings today:— RobBiertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) January 15, 2021
There are no real surprises here. Each player is receiving a fair deal in my opinion. In Musgrove’s case, he may now be slightly easier to trade as teams know exactly how much money he will be making in 2021. The same could be said for Frazier.
At this point, the Pirates’ payroll sits in the $47 million-ish range.