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Pirates deal outfielder Dyson to White Sox

@adamdberry
August 28, 2020

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates traded speedy center fielder Jarrod Dyson to the White Sox on Friday, marking the beginning of a potentially busy weekend leading up to the Trade Deadline The Pirates received an international bonus pool slot in return, giving the club a chance to spend more money on

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates traded speedy center fielder Jarrod Dyson to the White Sox on Friday, marking the beginning of a potentially busy weekend leading up to the Trade Deadline

The Pirates received an international bonus pool slot in return, giving the club a chance to spend more money on international amateur free agents as general manager Ben Cherington works to inject talent into their farm system. The White Sox sent $243,300 in additional international spending capacity for the 2019-20 signing period, which was extended through Oct. 15.

Trading Dyson leaves center field in the hands of Cole Tucker, the converted shortstop who has started 10 games in center and five more in right field this season. Pittsburgh will also use outfielder Anthony Alford, who was claimed off waivers from Toronto on Thursday, in all three outfield spots whenever he officially joins the team.

"We've played Tucker out there and will continue to play him out there. And we have Anthony Alford coming also, which is another outfielder,” manager Derek Shelton said Friday. “It's another opportunity to get looks at both those guys."

After dealing Dyson, the Pirates recalled outfielder Jason Martin from their alternate training site and gave him the start in center field against the Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park. Martin figures to be a temporary option until Alford clears the intake screening process and joins the team.

Jared Oliva, the Bucs’ No. 10 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, is also at the Pirates' alternate training site and could be a long-term option in the outfield.

Dyson signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Pirates in February to replace Starling Marte in center field. While Pittsburgh was pleased with the speed, defense and veteran leadership Dyson offered, he hit just .157/.218/.157 in 55 plate appearances over 21 games. The White Sox, who are very much in the postseason race, will utilize Dyson as a late-inning, speed-and-defense option off the bench.

“It's tough to describe what kind of person Jarrod is. Definitely the life of the clubhouse. Definitely an incredible human being, incredible baseball player,” Pirates first baseman Josh Bell said. “We’re excited for him and his next chapter. He’s definitely going to be sorely missed. I was sad to see him go, but we get it. It’s part of the game.”

The Pirates are expected to remain active in the days and hours leading up to the Trade Deadline on Monday. Their top remaining trade chips include controllable starting pitchers Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams, late-inning reliever Richard Rodríguez and swingman Chris Stratton. Kuhl and Rodríguez have drawn significant interest, according to sources.

Left-hander Derek Holland, like Dyson, is a veteran with postseason experience who can become a free agent at the end of the season. Holland, who started Friday’s series opener at Miller Park, could bolster a contender’s pitching staff, either in the rotation or out of the bullpen.

Closer Keone Kela was their most appealing trade asset as a high-leverage reliever rental, but he’s now on the 10-day injured list due to right forearm inflammation. Pittsburgh’s other realistic trade candidates include second baseman Adam Frazier, slick-fielding infielder Erik González and scuffling right fielder Gregory Polanco.

Around the horn
• Frazier started in left field on Friday, his first time playing a position other than second base since 2018. It’s possible the Pirates are showcasing the former super-utility man’s versatility before the Deadline, Shelton said it had to do with the personnel available following the doubleheader sweep Thursday in St. Louis.

• Right-handers Joe Musgrove (right triceps inflammation) and Jameson Taillon threw live batting practice at the club’s alternate training site in Altoona on Thursday. It was a step closer to a return to the mound for Musgrove and a milestone for Taillon, his first time facing hitters since his second Tommy John surgery last August.

• Reliever Kyle Crick Crick (right shoulder/lat muscle strain) pitched another simulated game on Friday afternoon.

• Right-hander Cody Ponce was removed from the Pirates’ active roster after picking up his first Major League win as the 29th man in Game 2 on Thursday. The Pirates could have kept Ponce and sent out another pitcher, but it wouldn’t have made much sense considering he’ll be unavailable for several days after throwing 5 2/3 innings on Thursday. Pittsburgh has another doubleheader scheduled Sept. 4.

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