NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Update 1:34 p.m.: The Boston Red Sox announced that they acquired right-hander Kyle Kaminska as the player to be named later in last week's trade for Zach Stewart.
Kaminska, 24, came to the Pirates at the trade deadline along with Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins in exchange for Gorkys Hernandez and a compensation draft pick. He had a 1.61 ERA in six starts in the Arizona Fall League, the lowest among starting pitchers. He struck out 21 and walked four in 28 innings.
While we wait with bated breath for Jason Grilli to decide where he'll play next year, let's recap the Rule 5 draft and our chat with Neal Huntington on the final day of the winter meetings.
The Pirates did not select a player in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft and did not lose anyone either. They chose righty Ethan Hollingsworth from the Royals organization in the Class AAA portion of the draft.
Hollingsworth, 25, is a ground-ball pitcher who appeared in 34 games, starting eight of them, between Class AA and Class AAA in 2012. He struck out 66 batters in 1022/3 innings with a 4.82 ERA.
Director of minor league operations Larry Broadway said Hollingsworth, a fourth-round pick by the Rockies in 2008, will start at Class AAA Indianapolis.
"We've liked him in the past," Broadway said. "As we look at our roster he might be able to fit in there in some sort of starter capacity in the minor leagues for us this year."
The Pirates lost third baseman Elevys Gonzalez to the Dodgers. Gonzalez, 23, hit .206/.306/.331 between Bradenton and Altoona after hitting .322 in a full season in Bradenton in 2011.
"We still like the kid. You hate to lose them," Broadway said. "It just came down to protecting guys and you couldn’t protect them all."
Huntington said the extra year given to teams to evaluate their players before they have to add them to the 40-man roster, a change implemented three year, has changed the dynamic of the players available. Now teams select more upside players with talent but still far away from the majors.
Huntington also said the Rule 5 draft can have a damaging effect on players, who are bitter at the team that didn't protect them and then bitter when they get so close to making a major league roster but are then returned to their original club.
"It's a really challenging process," Huntington said.
***Huntington said he was hopeful with regard to Grilli and that the Pirates were "in the mix."
"We feel like we made a very fair offer to Jason and we sure hope that it keeps him in a Pirates uniform," he said. "Our hope is that he continues to mentor young pitchers and continues to strike out hitters at quality rate for us."
***When asked if the Pirates were closer to finding another starter, Huntington said, "We feel good about what we have internally and we’re working to try to find something that makes us better." I still believe, if precedent teaches us anything, that the Pirates will sign or trade for a major league caliber pitcher. That way they have several inexperienced pitchers battling for only one rotation spot instead of two and.
Update (of sorts) 1:09 p.m.: Apparently no one has any clue where Grilli is going, if Twitter is to be believed, and we know in this day and age that Twitter never lies. For what it's worth, Grilli has not responded to calls and messages seeking comment over the past few days. I did not run into him in the lobby while waiting for him, though I'm told he made the rounds at some point.
Reading between the lines from what Huntington said, it sounds like the Pirates made their best offer and hoped Grilli would accept it. It also sounds like no other team went to three years, not surprising with someone of Grilli's age, which is why the decision is taking longer.
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