First Pitch: Rounding Out the Rest of the Year

We have entered the part of the year where baseball slows down for the holiday season, then picks back up early in the new year. I’ve already been counting down the days until the 2021 International signing period kicks off on January 15th, which is going to be a busy day here. Outside of the Rule 5 draft though, this has been a quiet off-season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s not uncommon obviously, no one expects them to be in contention for the big names, and if you make a minor signing, it’s news for 1-2 days and that’s it. The off-season is long, so even ten minor signings spaced out wouldn’t cover most of the time between the season ending and Spring Training beginning.

I was personally interested in trends for the rest of the actual calendar year and looked up the action recently. Trends don’t mean something will or won’t happen, but since I got asked to do the First Pitch this morning, I’ll share what the Pirates have done in recent years from December 20th-January 1st each off-season.

2019: Nothing

2018: Signed Tyler Lyons to a minor league deal on December 24th. Signed International free agent Wilbur Martinez on December 27th. The International signing period is closed now, so don’t expect any of those before January 15th.

2017: Signed five international free agents. Signed Jackson Williams to a minor league deal on December 22nd.

2016: Proves it can be busy at this time. Signed two minor league deals that went nowhere on the 23rd. Signed Ivan Nova as a free agent on the 27th. DFA’d Willy Garcia on the 31st. Claimed Nefi Ogando off of waivers and DFA’d Jason Rogers on the 23rd.

2015: Traded Kyle Lobstein on the 21st. Claimed Yoervis Medina on waivers (also lost Bobby LaFromboise on waivers) on the 23rd. Signed free agent John Jaso on the 23rd. Signed a go-nowhere minor league free agent on January 1st.

2014: Signed Wilfredo Boscan as a minor league free agent on the 23rd and also re-signed minor league free agent Andy Vasquez. Lost Preston Guilmet on waivers and released Josh Stinson (I’d be impressed if you remember all four of these players. I do, but I also wrote articles on all of these deals).

2013: Lost Jerry Sands and Ryan Reid on waivers on the 23rd. Traded Miles Mikolas for Chris McGuinness on the 30th.

2012: The Joel Hanrahan/Mark Melancon trade on December 26th kept us busy this year. Only other news was a minor league (re)signing on the 20th and Lucas May signing a minor league deal on January 1st, but that December 26th article was the most read one ever on Pirates Prospects, partially because news was coming in slow and rumors were flying beforehand.

2011: A good stopping point because the only news over the 13-day stretch was a minor league player being re-signed.

This was actually much more than I remember during this time period. Obviously much of it didn’t go anywhere, but it always seemed very quiet around this time.  Strange that last year was the first in ten years that nothing at all happened.

**Wilbur Miller has started a game-by-game recap of the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates season, which will begin today over on the history site at 2 PM, with a new article going up each day. So you’ll get at least three history articles each day there, including the daily This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History article and the 10:30 article, which is the Card of the Day about five times a week, and one of our other features the other two days. I also have some special history articles going up some time soon.

**If you need last minute Christmas gifts for all of those Pittsburgh Pirates fans in your life, might I suggest one of our gift cards? You don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll get the item on time because it’s all done online. The gift cards can be used for subscriptions, which will be important here soon as we go back behind the paywall for the main site. They can also be used on our baseball cards, PBN glasses and shirts, and our Prospect Guide, which we will have an update on very soon (possibly later today, more likely tomorrow or Tuesday). This is a great way to help support the site as well!

The 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide returns to print! We are releasing two variant covers this year, featuring Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Visit our shop to order these extremely limited items!