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February 10, 2014

Rumor Roundup

Plenty of Arms Available

by Daniel Rathman


Pirates dissatisfied with current first-base situation
If the season started today, the Pirates would have Gaby Sanchez splitting time with a left-handed first baseman, most likely either Andrew Lambo or Chris McGuiness. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, in the eyes of general manager Neal Huntington, that won’t do.

Cafardo wrote on Sunday that there is “mutual interest” between the Pirates and Kendrys Morales, who declined a qualifying offer from the Mariners and hasn’t found many (any?) suitors on the open market. Morales’ agent, Scott Boras, isn’t afraid to drag free agents into March—as he showed last offseason with Kyle Lohse—but the pressure could turn up as Opening Day nears, because the first baseman turned down $14.1 million on his agent’s advice.

The Pirates might want Morales, but as Cafardo noted in the blurb linked above, they would sign him only on their own terms. That probably means Morales can rule out a $14.1 million payday from Pittsburgh, which might also look for upgrades on the trade market to avoid coughing up its first-round pick. Cafardo believes that Ike Davis, Adam Lind, and Mitch Moreland are Huntington’s most likely targets, though he did not rule out a run at Justin Smoak or Mike Carp. Each of those players was mentioned in rumors earlier this offseason, but the stove has cooled off in recent weeks, and it’s possible that all of them will stay put.

Morales, a switch-hitter who compiled a .282 True Average in 657 plate appearances last year, is projected by PECOTA to be worth 2.6 WARP in his age-31 season, even though he hasn’t surpassed 1.6 WARP since 2009. That production level could justify a $14.1 million investment, but the additional draft-pick cost has deadened his market to this point. The Pirates would need to surrender the 25th-overall selection in order to bring Morales in, a move that would leave them with zero picks in the top 60.

Chris Capuano, Joe Saunders on Orioles’ radar
The Orioles were linked to Fernando Rodney. They didn’t get him. They were linked to Bronson Arroyo. They didn’t get him, either. And they have been linked to A.J. Burnett, but as of Friday, that wasn’t looking good.

So, the pitching-hungry Dan Duquette is moving down his wishlist, and a couple of lefties might be the next candidates on it. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweeted on Saturday night that the Orioles are “talking with” Chris Capuano and Joe Saunders, who haven’t drawn much attention this winter but are likely to try to find homes as spring training camps open.

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Premium Article Minor League Update: C... (02/10)
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