Results tagged ‘ Brandon Moss ’

Beginning the assessment…

Jenifer Langosch/

We get the same warning each time a trade is made that includes a proven player going elsewhere for prospects or unproven young players. We are told to be patient, to wait years before evaluating if there is a clear cut winner or loser in the deal.

There are some trades that don’t appear to need any more time for analysis. The Pirates’ deal with the Yankees (in which the club acquired Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen) in July 2008 can laud Pittsburgh as the winner. The Pirates surely seem to have come out ahead in the Octavio Dotel trade that happened just months ago, too 

The Jason Bay trade (July 2008) was one of the biggest that GM Neal Huntington has made in his time here. And after Friday’s developments, we are closer to being able to evaluate the return. I’ll agree that there is still a big unknown looming — as the success or lack thereof of Bryan Morris in the big leagues could make the Pirates definite winners or losers in the trade. However, the other three players the Pirates acquired for their star outfielder all turned out to be flops.

First, let’s take a look at what the Pirates had with Bay as a trading chip in 2008:

  • After a down year in 2007, Bay rebounded as he began working with hitting coach Don Long in ’08. At the time he was traded, Bay was hitting .282 with 22 homers, 23 doubles and 64 RBIs in 106 games. He was one of the biggest pieces available at the Deadline. 
  • Bay had one more year left on his contract before he would be a free agent. He was going to be plenty affordable tpo, as that 2009 salary was $7.5 million.

In return, the Pirates acquired Andy LaRoche and Morris from the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox. The results have been as follows:

Moss: In 95 games, he hit .228 with 31 doubles, 13 homers and 66 RBIs. He was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster this month after spending the year in Triple-A. Moss has since signed with the Phillies.

LaRoche: In 301 games, he hit .226 with 41 doubles, 19 homers and 92 RBIs. He was the starting third baseman before Pedro Alvarez arrived, but never proved he deserved a chance to be an everyday player. LaRoche was designated for assignment on Friday and is close to becoming a free agent.   

Hansen: In 21 relief appearances, he allowed 17 earned runs in 22 innings. Hansen walked 24 and struck out 12. He has been slowly recovering from a nerve injury near his neck and just began pitching again in the Minors last season. 

Morris: After a terrible 2009 season that included a suspension, Morris rebounded to have a strong showing in 2010. That put Morris back on the radar as a prospect. He was stellar in eight starts with High-A Bradenton and then made his last 19 appearances in Double-A. If Morris has a strong start next year, it’s not unrealistic to think he could be a potential September call-up.

Again, no team is a winner in every trade it makes, though you particularly want to make sure you get adequate return in the deals where you’re sending off one of your best chips away — and Bay was just that. Again, Morris’ development will go a long way in helping us make a final assessment many years from now. But to this point, the Pirates missed completely on those first three players.

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Brandon Moss lands in Philadelphia

Jenifer Langosch/

Moss, Brandon.jpgBrandon Moss
, the once-promising outfielder netted in the Jason Bay trade, has signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies. Moss will report to Philadelphia’s Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

This officially closes the door on Moss’ disappointing Pirates career. He became a Minor League free agent earlier this month after being removed from Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster. Though Moss led the International League in RBIs last season, he hit just .228 with 13 homers in 195 total big-league games with the Pirates.

According to a release put out by the Phillies on Friday, former Pirates catcher Erik Kratz has also been invited to the team’s big-league camp.

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Minor League Free Agent list

Jenifer Langosch/

It doesn’t get nearly the fanfare the big-league free agent market does, but the Minor League free agent market has opened for all as well. Here is a list of players in the Pirates’ system who were granted Minor League free agency because of service time accrued:

  • C: Hector Gimenez. Erik Kratz, James Skelton, Milver Reyes
  • 1B: Bryan Myrow
  • 2B: Rodolfo Cardona, Yung Chi Chen, Jose de los Santos
  • SS: Doug Bernier
  • OF: Kevin Melillo, Mitch Jones, Jonathan Van Every
  • RHP: Tyler Yates, Jeremy Powell, Jean Machi, Derek Hankins, Dustin Molleken
  • LHP: Dana Eveland, Corey Hamman

* Note: OF Brandon Moss and RHP Steven Jackson were also granted Minor League free agency. They are not on this list above because they were able to declare earlier than these others after being removed from the 40-man roster last week.

Here, in a nice organized form, is the full list of players who became Minor League free agents over the weekend. Why might this be of interest to you? Well, remember the Pirates are now free to scour this list and negotiate with anyone in this group. You’ll find some interesting names in here, too.

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Gallagher remains with Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/

A bit of clarification regarding news from last week…

When the Pirates removed RHP Sean Gallagher off the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Indianapolis, the club was working under the belief that Gallagher had accrued enough Minor League service time to declare himself a Minor League free agent as soon as he was able to do so (which was on Saturday). However, after further review, Gallagher is not yet eligible.

This means that he does not have the ability to refuse his assignment to Triple-A and that he will be under the club’s control through 2011 without having to sign a Minor League deal. He’ll most likely be invited to Major League Spring Training, though that hasn’t been announced yet.

On the other hand, both RHP Steven Jackson and OF Brandon Moss officially became Minor League free agents this weekend.

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Bucs make roster moves

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates just announced that they have made the following roster moves:

  • LHP Wil Ledezma, who was to be eligibile for arbitration this winter, has agreed to a one-year contract for 2011.
  • RHP Ross Ohlendorf, RHP Jose Ascanio and 1B Steve Pearce have been reinstated off the 60-day disabled list and put back on Pirates’ 40-man roster.
  • 1B Jeff Clement was removed from 60-day disabled list and outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis
  • The following players were removed from 40-man roster and outrighted to Triple-A: OF Brandon Moss, LHP Justin Thomas, RHP Sean Gallagher, RHP Steven Jackson
  • RHP Chan Ho Park has been taken off the 40-man roster, as he is now a free agent.


  • Because they have already been outrighted off a 40-man roster before, Moss, Thomas and Jackson are now free to declare Minor League free agency immediately. Expect each of the three to do so very soon.
  • Gallagher has accrued enough Minor League service time to also become a Minor League free agent, but he can’t do that immediately like the aforementioned guys. The Pirates have until 5 p.m. ET to try and negotiate a contract (techincally called a successor contract) with Gallagher to keep him. The Pirates are believed to be making such an attempt to resign Gallagher.
  • Clement doesn’t have the service time to become a Minor League free agent, so he will remain on Indianapolis’ roster. He should be invited to big league camp next spring, though he might still be recovering from knee surgery.

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September 7: Braves (79-59) @ Pirates (46-91)

Jenifer Langosch/

With the Braves sitting only 1/2 game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East standings, the Pirates will have the chance to affect that race one way or another these next two nights. Pittsburgh finished 4-2 against the Phillies this season. Currently, the Braves hold a 5-2 advantage in their season series against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates’ clubhouse got much more crowded today, as eight players from Triple-A Indianapolis’ club have arrived. That group includes Pedro Ciriaco, Jason Jaramillo, Brandon Moss, Alex Presley, Brian Bass, Steven Jackson, Brad Lincoln and Justin Thomas. Much much more on roles and expected playing time on the main site later today.

Thumbnail image for Braves.jpgBRAVES:
O. Infante (2B), J. Heyward (RF), M. Prado (3B), B. McCann (C), D. Lee (1B), M. Cabrera (LF), A. Gonzalez (SS), R. Ankiel (CF), T. Hudson (RHP)

Hudson vs. PIT: 5-3 in 9 starts, 62.1 IP, 48 H, 17 ER, 4 HR, 18 BB, 41 K

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), J. McDonald (RHP)

McDonald vs. ATL: 0-0 in 2 games, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 5 K


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Tigers 8, Pirates 5

Jenifer Langosch/

It was not a pretty line for LHP Zach Duke — 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 1 B, 1 K. But watching him pitch, it wasn’t one of those outings that made you cringe either. Sure, way too many runners crossed the plate. But unlike Ross Ohlendorf’s recent games, Duke wasn’t particularly beat up.

He allowed seven singles, a double and a solo home run. Had Jeff Clement been able to scoop a low, bouncing throw from Bobby Crosby (who made a terrific play to even get to Ryan Raburn’s grounder in the second), Duke would have allowed three fewer runs in the inning. I’m not mentioning all this to make excuses for Duke, but simply to point out that I don’t think there is reason for concern in his results.

Duke’s next outing will come Monday as the Pirates open the season against the Dodgers.

“The important thing is I felt good,” he said afterward. “A couple pitch selections, if I could have them back, I’d take them back. But I felt fine and I’m definitely ready to go. I felt good. I felt like I got stronger as the spring went on. I feel like my pitches are crisp now and I’m right where I need to be.”

Oh, and Duke the hitter went 1-for-2 with a double. That’s three doubles in his last four at-bats for those of you scoring at home. That means Duke has as many doubles in the past week as Brandon Moss had hits (all singles) this spring.


Since I mentioned Ohlendorf’s recent struggles, I should note that manager John Russell lauded Ohlendorf’s recent side session. This is made even more of an impression on me because yesterday, bench coach Gary Varsho (unsolicited, I might add) said the same thing. Ohlendorf, who will face Philadelphia in an exhibition game on Friday has allowed 12 earned runs in his last 7 2/3 innings. Command and flatness to his pitches have been the issue.


Outfielder John Raynor got most of Wednesday off, but he did have one late-game at-bat to try and end his hitless streak. Didn’t happen. With a groundout in the ninth, Raynor is now hitless in his last 16 at-bats.

He still seems to have the upper hand for the fifth bench spot, though that’s no given considering his recent offensive woes. The Rule 5 draftee would have to be offered back to the Marlins for $25,000 if he does not make the Pirates’ Opening Day roster.

Asked about Raynor’s recent problems at the plate, Russell had this to say: “He’s still trying to keep a pretty good approach. Some of the pitchers have been pretty tough on him. We’ll see. But he’s still fighting. He’s still working hard. We’ve got a few days left, obviously. Spring Training evaluation you always take into account who they face and how things go. We’ll continue to look at it.”


I shouldn’t have to remind you, but …. four more days until Opening Day. And it looks like the weather is even going to cooperate.

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Sifting through the options…

Jenifer Langosch/

So, the goodbye to Brandon Moss cleared up one question the Pirates had remaining this spring, but it sure seems to have clarified little else. In fact, I’m actually finding more questions than before at this point.

Let’s roll through some of them really quickly, keeping in mind that the club has until 3 pm ET on Sunday to solidify its Opening Day roster…

  • Where does RHP Hayden Penn fit?

General manager Neal Huntington made it clear on Monday that Penn, who the team claimed off waivers, will have every chance to make the club. He’s likely to only get two to three appearances at most this week before the decision has to be made, so his chance at making the Opening Day roster will largely lie on how he fares. His numbers this spring haven’t been exceptional; in fact, in his last two outings, Penn has allowed nine earned runs in a combined 4 2/3 innings. 

One thing that muddies Penn’s future is the fact that he is out of options. That means that if the Pirates start him on the 25-man roster and decide to move him out (either because of ineffectiveness or to make room for Joel Hanrahan), the club would risk losing him on waivers. You would think that the Pirates didn’t make this waiver claim without planning on it being beneficial for more than a week or so.

  • What does this mean for the Jack Taschner?

Yesterday, I was pretty certain that Jack Taschner was going to be the sixth man in the Pirates’ bullpen to begin the season. Knowing that Hanrahan will be available beginning the second week of the season, this sixth spot was effectively the last long-term one to fill. With Penn in the mix now, this all changes.

Sure, there’s always the option of keeping both Taschner and Penn, though Hanrahan would squeeze someone out of a spot a week later. The problem is that Taschner and Penn are both out of options. So if you start one in the Majors and then want to send him down, you’re dealing with waivers again. And with the way Taschner has pitched this spring, I don’t see him getting through unclaimed.

The likely scenario is that one of these two starts in the Minors so you don’t have to worry about the lack of an option right away. Or could the Pirates have something else in mind — say, sending someone like Evan Meek down when Hanrahan returns since he does have an option remaining.

Oh, so many scenarios…

  • How about the rest of the relief candidates?

Clearly, the acquisition of Penn is not good news for the other non-roster relievers trying to make this club. Guys like Jeff Karstens, Vinnie Chulk and Brian Bass were seen as legitimate candidates to be a placeholder for Hanrahan. It would seem that their chances of being on the Opening  Day roster, though, just took a hit.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean they won’t be up at some point. Relievers always come and go throughout the season, and the Pirates need the depth.

  • Is this good news for John Raynor?

With Moss out of the outfielder mix, this would seem to suggest that the Pirates are leaning toward making Raynor their fifth bench player. With Raynor, you have a player that is still raw in a lot of areas, but the Pirates obviously see long-term potential if they’ve kept him around this long.

The Pirates’ bench right now has Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church, Delwyn Young and a backup catcher on it. That would seem to leave one spot open for Raynor, Ramon Vazquez and Steve Pearce. Because Pearce has an option left, my guess is he’ll be squeezed out of consideration and will start in Triple-A. Vazquez is owed $2 million, but he won’t be around past this year anyways, so Raynor is the better investment for the long term.

It would sure seem that things are looking good for the Rule 5 pick to at least start the season on the Major League roster.

  • Will the Pirates open with six or seven relievers?

Good question, and it’s one the Pirates are still asking themselves. How Penn does this week could play a role in this. Where Hanrahan is in his rehab could affect it as well. It would seem, though, that if the Pirates start with just six relievers (and, in turn, a six-man bench), it would only be until Hanrahan is ready to return. Then in order to make room for Hanrahan, the Pirates could eliminate one of the extra bench guys or Daniel McCutchen.

My guess is that it would be McCutchen, simply because the Pirates don’t need him to start the second and third times through the order. He could get his first start in, go back to Triple-A and start regularly there and then be ready for a call up once the Pirates need a fifth starter again. At that time, the club could go with McCutchen or Kevin Hart, but we won’t get into that discussion just yet.

If you do this, you’d be able to keep the six-man bench and have seven relievers.

There could be a benefit to a six-man bench. It could give the Pirates an additional few weeks to try and trade Vazquez, instead of releasing him and eating his $2 million salary. It could also give the organization additional time to evaluate Raynor and decide if he can stick all year.

Obviously, I asked plenty more questions than I answered. But I just wanted to think outloud here for a few minutes to try and get you thinking about what decisions management is left pondering. There are so many different ways things can go, and keep in mind that the team could make a trade or waiver claim tomorrow that changes the dyanmics of everything.

If nothing else, this all gives you something to follow during this final week of spring.

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Bucs claim RHP Hayden Penn

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates have claimed right-hander Hayden Penn off waivers from the Marlins. The Pirates have not yet announced a corresponding move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Penn. That announcement is expected soon.

In 30 Major League appearances (15 starts), Penn has an 8.89 ERA. He struck out 53 and walked 54 in 80 total innings. He appeared in another 14 Triple-A games last year and went 2-4 with a 4.11 ERA in 70 innings.

Penn, 25, was a former fifth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2002.

On a side note (and possibly a very related one)… Outfielder Brandon Moss started jogging from the Pirates’ dugout and back into the clubhouse minutes after the Pirates’ press release came through. Moss is out of options and not guaranteed to make the club. This could mean the Pirates are going to take him off. Then again, it could be coincidence.

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Rays 8, Pirates 2

Jenifer Langosch/

If it feels like the Pirates haven’t won all that much this spring, you’re right. With one loss and one cancellation on Sunday, the team is now 6-16-1 this month. No, it doesn’t mean much — you might remember the Pirates had very good spring results last year and finished the season with only 62 wins. But now that starting pitchers are scheduled to go about six innings and regular position players are playing almost every day and deeper into games, this is the time where you would like to see a few more W’s.

Anyways, some stuff from the Pirates’ loss to the Rays…


Ross Ohlendorf did not have a good day. He allowed eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits in four innings. Ohlendorf walked three, had no strikeouts and served up two home runs. In fact, half of the hits against him were of the extra-base variety.

Here is what Ohlendorf had to say about it:

“Obviously, I didn’t pitch well. My slider wasn’t very good and I kept getting behind in the count with it. Also, I was got behind a lot with my fastball, too. Getting in bad counts and my slider not being good were two of my main things. I threw my changeup fairly well.

“I felt good warming up. Usually, warm up doesn’t mean that much. I don’t put too much into it. But my arm felt really strong in warm ups, so that’s usually (a better indicator) of how your arm feels than how you’ll throw. I certainly was expecting to do much better.”

The question is, should we be concerned? Ohlendorf hasn’t shown great command all spring and though I wasn’t able to see him on Sunday, it sure doesn’t sound like this last start was any better.

We’re at the point in spring where pitches should be clicking and pitchers should be finding a rhythm. Ohlendorf could really use a strong final spring start (that will come in Philly on Friday) before making his 2010 debut in Pittsburgh on April 7.

“I’ve been treating the last three like regular games,” Ohlendorf said. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to pitch like this in the regular season. It just means that I need to start pitching better.

“My slider needs to improve, both the action and the location. With my fastball, it’s mainly just command. I feel good. I’m encouraged it will come around. I just hope it comes around in my next two starts. My changeup’s been good. My slider has kind of been following its normal path. It’s usually good the first one or two games, then it’s bad for a little while.”


Octavio Dotel made his second Grapefruit League appearance and the command and efficiency in this one was better than the first. The Pirates’ closer needed just 10 pitches (seven strikes) to get through the fifth. He struck out one and allowed a single.

“I just tried to get some work and take care of business,” he said. “I felt good today. I just got to keep going, keep trying and keep it the way it was today.”
Dotel is scheduled to pitch again on Monday, which will be his first back-to-back test this spring.


Some other random notes:

  • Vinnie Chulk pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his first appearance back from bicep soreness.
  • Brandon Moss made the start in left and went 1-for-4. The hit was his third of the spring, but it was an infield hit to the pitcher’s mound.
  • Jeff Clement connected for his second home run (this one an opposite field homer) of the spring. He finished the day 1-for-3.
  • After Saturday’s dismal fielding day, I’m happy to report there were no errors on Sunday.

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