Bucs ink 16-year-old Australian OF Maguire

Pirates add young talent during international signing period; Minor League, player-development staffs announced

February 5th, 2020

PITTSBURGH -- Shortly after the Pirates finalized the trade that sent Starling Marte to the D-backs, general manager Ben Cherington took a seat behind a table at PNC Park and explained the deal. He focused mostly on right-hander Brennan Malone and shortstop Liover Peguero, the 19-year-old prospects Pittsburgh received in return. But there was a third part of the deal to address: $250,000 in additional international spending capacity.

“The third piece, the spending space, gives us an opportunity hopefully to do something in the international market,” Cherington said last week.

On Wednesday, they did something pretty big with it. The Pirates announced the signing of 16-year-old Australian outfielder Solomon Maguire. Maguire, the 43rd player signed by Pittsburgh during the 2019-20 international signing period, is a native of Kellyville, New South Wales, Australia, and he is currently attending Castle Hill High School in Sydney.

To sign Maguire, the Pirates had to use the $250,000 international bonus slots they received in exchange for Corey Dickerson (from the Phillies) and Marte (from the D-backs). Maguire signed for $594,000, sources told MLB.com, one of the largest bonuses in the Bucs’ 2019-20 class.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 168 pounds, Maguire is considered by scouts to be a plus athlete with plus speed and a potentially plus arm. He has shown good bat speed in games and impressive power for a teenager of his size. He is projected to remain a center fielder even as his body matures and he adds strength. The left-handed hitter participated in last year’s MLB College Showcase, a 10-day event that featured prospects from 10 countries in games against college teams in Arizona in October.

The Pirates signed the headliner of their international class on July 2, the beginning of the signing period: right-hander Cristopher Cruz. The 6-foot-2 native of the Dominican Republic received an $850,000 bonus to begin his professional career in the Pirates organization.

MLB.com has confirmed bonuses for 24 of Pittsburgh’s 43 international signees, including Maguire, totaling $5,640,000. Of the confirmed signings, Maguire has the fourth-largest bonus behind Cruz, left-hander Yojiery Osoria ($600,000) and outfielder Enmanuel Terrero ($600,000).

It is unclear how much international spending capacity the Pirates have remaining, but the fact that they had to dip into the additional slots they received for Marte, according to a source, indicates they have spent close to or all of their bonus-pool allotment for this signing period.

During this signing period, international scouting director Junior Vizcaino and the Pirates have added 27 prospects from the Dominican Republic, six from Venezuela, two from Australia, two from Colombia, two from Nicaragua, one from Mexico, one from Taiwan, one from Brazil and one from Panama.

Minor League, player-development staffs announced

After previously unveiling their full-season Minor League coaching staffs, the Pirates rounded out their player-development staff on Wednesday.

The club revealed the managers and coaching staffs for Class A Short-Season West Virginia, Rookie-level Bristol, the Rookie-level GCL Pirates and both Dominican Summer League teams.

Pittsburgh also announced its player-development staff, which will once again be led by senior director of Minor League operations Larry Broadway, and additional hires on the baseball operations staff. The announcement included the previously reported hire of special assistant Oz Ocampo, a former Astros front-office staffer.

Among the new hires, the Pirates added two senior quantitative analysts, two quantitative analysts and a software developer within their baseball informatics department. Those analysts were brought in to beef up the club’s analytics staff with a focus on amateur/international scouting and player development. During the Winter Meetings, Cherington noted that the informatics department was in need of “additional bandwidth,” personnel-wise.

Also of note: Senior advisor Woody Huyke retired after 61 years in professional baseball and 51 years with the Pirates, and special assistant David Eckstein is expected to return for a second year.