Pittsburgh Pirates Roundup: Hurdle, Melancon, Cervelli, And More


The Jolly Roger sits anchored along the North Shore for the winter. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates log seems full of activity. It is time to tap our keyboards and take a look at what some of the experts have reported.

Joel Reuter from Bleacher Report believes the Pirates would be making a serious misstep in trading reliever Mark Melancon over salary concerns. The right-handed pitcher claimed a franchise record 51 saves in 53 chances last season to go along with a 2.23 earned-run-average and 0.926 WHIP. Reuter forecasts an overall weakening of the bullpen if the 30-year-old from Wheat Ridge, Colorado leaves. The next question on the table is, “Is Tony Watson ready to take over the closer role?”

Rum Bunter‘s Steve Kubitz asks a very simple question of Pirates fans. Is Clint Hurdle a Good Manager? Kubitz points out some of Hurdle’s faults, but if winning is the bottom line then Hurdle gets the job done within Pittsburgh. I think the question on the mind of the fans is, “Can Hurdle get them to a World Series Championship?”

Over at the Tribune Review, Rob Bietempfel reported the dismissal of Manny Lopez, who had been the head groundskeeper at PNC Park for the last 22 seasons. Prior to his coming on board as the director of field operations along the North Shore, Lopez served in Bradenton, Florida as the top groundskeeper at the Pirates City training complex.

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Charlie Wimoth of the Bucs Dugout on SB Nation mentions that the Pirates are bringing in Mike Mangan as their new assistant director of amateur scouting. He has worked in the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds organizations, and will be reporting to Joe DelliCarri, who is the Pirates director of amateur scouting.

Andrew Hodgson of the Pittsburgh Sporting News thinks the Pirates are keeping all of their options open when it comes to starting catcher Francisco Cervelli. The question for the fans of the Jolly Roger is, “Is Elias Diaz ready to take over behind the plate in 2016?”

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The Bucs leave nothing to chance when it comes to finding talent. John Dreker of Pirates Prospects says Pittsburgh purchased right-handed pitcher Patrick Johnson from the Sioux City Explorers of the independent league American Association. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound hurler is rated the fifth overall best prospect in independent ball by the staff at Baseball America.

That is it for this edition of the Pirates Notebook. Do not forget that PirateFest is Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13 and the event is at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.