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Pirates notebook: Draft pick swap not new to Bucs, Marlins

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle talks with general manager Neal Huntington on Feb. 23, 2014, during spring training at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, June 2, 2014, 8:46 p.m.

SAN DIEGO — When the Pirates traded reliever Bryan Morris to the Miami Marlins on Sunday, it was the second time the teams did a swap that involved a draft pick.

The Pirates got the Marlins' competitive balance round A pick, which will be the 39th overall selection, for Morris.

In July 2012, the Pirates sent their competitive balance pick to the Marlins as part of a package for first baseman Gaby Sanchez. The Marlins used it in the 2013 draft to take high school left-hander Matt Krook, who did not sign and is now pitching at the University of Oregon.

Competitive balance picks, which are awarded to six of the lowest-revenue and six of the smallest-market teams, are awarded by lottery between the first and second rounds. Unlike regular draft picks, which are determined by where teams finish in the standings, competitive balance picks can be traded.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington can envision a day when MLB allows teams to trade any of their draft picks.

“I think they're testing the waters to see what we do with them now,” Huntington said. “It would make things a lot more interesting and a lot more enjoyable for us, if you could drop back or move up in the draft. It also probably would make the draft six days long, because of all the rounds we have.”

The 2014 draft will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday. Its 40 rounds are spread over three days.

Huntington admits there are good reasons for preventing clubs from trading draft picks.

“You look back over history, and there are some bad examples in other leagues of some desperate GMs doing some foolish things,” Huntington said. “Maybe they're just trying to protect us from ourselves.”

Facts and figures

Gaining the extra pick added nearly $1.5 million to the Pirates' draft pool allotment. They now can spend $7,063,700 on bonus money for picks in the first 10 rounds. Their previous total was $5,606,100. ... The Pirates-Dodgers game on ESPN's “Sunday Night Baseball” drew a 7.7 Nielsen rating in Pittsburgh. It's the highest-rated MLB game on ESPN ever in the Pittsburgh market. ... According to online betting site, the Pirates' odds of winning the World Series are 75-1. Their odds were 50-1 on May 1. ... According to, Pirates attendance was up 24 percent at the end of May compared to last year. That's the biggest increase in MLB.

Mound matters

The Pirates have not yet named a starter for Friday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. The Pirates are off Thursday, which gives them the option of skipping Brandon Cumpton, who allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in 3 23 innings Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We didn't bring him up to sit,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But we haven't nailed anything down yet. I'd say there's a better chance he will pitch than not.” ... Reliever Stolmy Pimentel (shoulder inflammation) threw two hitless, scoreless innings Monday in his first rehab outing with High-A Bradenton. Pimentel walked one and struck out two.

Special homer

Hurdle said he got goosebumps Sunday when Josh Harrison homered in the seventh inning off Dodgers reliever Chris Perez. After pulling a shot that had plenty of distance but went just foul down the left field line, Harrison whacked the next pitch over the wall in right-center.

“That doesn't happen very often,” Hurdle said.

In August 1983, when Hurdle was with the New York Mets, he caught a game with Sid Fernandez pitching. Steve Garvey of the San Diego Padres hit a towering foul ball into the second deck at Shea Stadium.

“I remember going, ‘Whew! Man, that was lucky,' “ Hurdle said. “Then Garvey hit the next pitch into the second deck fair and I was like, ‘Wow! This must be the big leagues.' You don't see that stuff in the minor leagues.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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