The winter meetings wrap up today with the Rule 5 Draft. The Pirates are likely to select at least one player, although it is difficult to predict whom that might be. Dejan thinks it could be Matt Torra or Hainley Statia. Baseball America mentions J.D. Martin or Chuck Lofgren as possible Pittsburgh picks. John Perrotto thinks it will be Lofgren or Jordan Pratt. Cory also weighed in with some ideas for the Pirates. I would like to see them take right-handed reliever Eduardo Morlan or maybe catcher James Skelton. Morlan is a popular pick after a solid showing in Double-A last year, so he may be gone by the time the Pirates pick. Skelton has put up some impressive numbers in the low minors, but he is a left-handed hitting catcher who plays poor defense. It would be tough to keep him on the roster all season.
11:25 AM: Buster Olney reports that the Pirates are close to a deal with Ramon Vazquez. Vazquez, 32, hit .290/.365/.430 in 347 plate appearances with Texas last season, and has a career line of .257/.328/.358. He boasts excellent plate discipline and plays an average shortstop. The deal is reportedly worth $4 million over two years. Not a bad addition to the bench. Hat tip to Charlie at Bucs Dugout.
11:30 AM: Dejan confirms that the Pirates are in talks with Vazquez. He also reports that the Pirates could lose Kyle Bloom in the draft.
12:15 PM: Skelton to the Diamondbacks. Morlan to the Brewers.
12:30 PM: First Pirates pick in the minor league portion of the draft is Andres Santos.
12:40 PM: Second Pirates pick in Triple-A portion is Rafael Quintero. Third pick is Gerardo Esparza. Pirates pass on Double-A portion of draft.
12:50 PM: Draft is complete.
1:00 PM: Dejan spoke with Vazquez’s agent. He said that they are close to an agreement with the Pirates. This could get done in the next day or two. I’m taking a little break. I’ll be back in a bit, hopefully with some more info on Veal and the new minor league additions.
2:20 PM: The Twins have resigned Nick Punto to a two-year deal, eliminating them from consideration in a potential Jack Wilson trade.