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Rivero aiming to sign long-term deal with Bucs

MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates closer Felipe Rivero says he lets his sister, Priscilla, handle most of his offseason business. She could be busy next week.

Rivero said his agent at Magnus Sports will speak with the Pirates front office on Monday at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. One possible topic of conversation? A long-term contract that keeps him in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates closer Felipe Rivero says he lets his sister, Priscilla, handle most of his offseason business. She could be busy next week.

Rivero said his agent at Magnus Sports will speak with the Pirates front office on Monday at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. One possible topic of conversation? A long-term contract that keeps him in Pittsburgh.

"I want to stay here for a little bit. It's a good city to stay," Rivero said Saturday morning while attending PiratesFest at PNC Park. "I feel comfortable being here, so I want to be here a couple of years."

There is not much urgency to complete a deal, as Rivero is nowhere near free agency. He is under club control for four more seasons and projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to earn $3.1 million next season, his first year of arbitration eligibility.

In this case, a long-term agreement could involve buying out some or all of Rivero's arbitration-eligible seasons -- or the two sides could find themselves far apart on a deal and play out the process year by year. A guaranteed contract would provide certainty on both sides, however.

For Rivero, it would remove any short-term concerns about his contract; he wouldn't have to worry about going to an arbitration hearing or being non-tendered in the event of a serious injury or ineffective stretch. For the Pirates, it would provide cost certainty for the core piece of their bullpen; they could budget around Rivero and plan around his salary going forward while potentially saving some money with the trade-off of a guaranteed contract.

Rivero said he will "probably talk" to his agent on Tuesday, after the meeting takes place. Rivero recently changed agencies, leaving Scott Boras to join agent Francis Marquez and Magnus Sports. That decision was also made, he said, by his older sister.

"They need to represent my whole family, so it's not just me as a baseball player," Rivero said. "So it was a good sign, and my sister was pretty happy. … She knows everything."

Around the horn

• Pirates management, including president Frank Coonelly and GM Neal Huntington, told fans at PiratesFest that they don't expect third baseman Jung Ho Kang to return in 2018. Kang remains in South Korea, unpaid and on the Bucs' restricted list, unable to acquire a work visa following a December 2016 arrest for driving under the influence.

"I think that's been a real thought for quite some time now," added manager Clint Hurdle.

Video: Bucs manager Hurdle on analytics, pitching style

Hurdle said he intends to call Kang, who was released by his Dominican Winter League team last month, at some point this offseason. The Pirates began planning for life without Kang last season and addressed a need in the infield by trading for veteran Sean Rodriguez in August.

• The Mets may speak to the Pirates at the Winter Meetings about making a trade for infielder Josh Harrison, according to a Newsday report. Harrison, a 2017 All-Star, is under contract for $10.25 million next season with club options for 2019 and '20.

Andrew McCutchen was not at PiratesFest on Saturday, but Rodriguez said he visited on Friday with Pittsburgh's franchise player and his two-week-old son, the aptly named Steel.

"You're basically looking at the prince of Pittsburgh," Rodriguez said. "One thing I know about Pittsburghers is they're very sports-oriented, so … yeah, I guess you could say he's kind of a prince."

Video: Rodriguez discusses playing hurt last season

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates, Felipe Rivero