Pirates Finally Acquire Pimentel

PITTSBURGH — It took Neal Huntington more than four years, but he finally got his man.

While righthander Stolmy Pimentel might have been the least-known name among the four players the Pirates acquired from Boston in a six-player trade for closer Joel Hanrahan on the day after Christmas, he had been on the general manager's radar for a long time.

Huntington unsuccessfully tried to acquire Pimentel at the trade deadline in July 2008, in what turned out to be a three-team trade in which the Pirates sent Jason Bay to Boston and the Red Sox shipped Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.
Now Pimentel is finally a Pirate, as he came from the Red Sox with infield prospect Ivan De Jesus Jr., righthanded reliever Mark Melancon and first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands. Middle infielder Brock Holt also went to Boston as part of the trade.

Like seemingly every prospect the Pirates acquire, Pimentel's stock has dropped in recent seasons. He was the Red Sox's No. 11 prospect after both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, rose to No. 6 in 2010 then fell to No. 23 after the 2011 season.
Pimentel, 22, did little in 2012 to raise his value, going 6-7, 4.59 in 22 starts spanning 116 innings. He allowed 115 hits, struck out 86 and walked 42 for Double-A Portland.

The Pirates believe the reed-thin 6-foot-3, 165-pounder has upside and that perhaps a change of scenery will help. The Pirates were also encouraged that Pimentel had 23 strikeouts in 23 innings in winter ball for Estrellas in his native Dominican Republic, though he was 1-2, 5.87 in eight games.

"Our guys have always liked him," Huntington said. "We still feel the arm is there and that he can become a big league starter. He has a quality pitch package and we feel we can help him reach his potential."


• De Jesus won the batting title in the Puerto Rican League by hitting .364/.418/.503 in 37 games and 143 at-bats for Manati. De Jesus, 25, is expected to compete for a utility infielder job on the major league club in spring training.

• Lefthander Kris Johnson, who will be in major league spring training as a nonroster invitee after being re-signed as a minor league free agent, went 1-0, 0.67 in 27 innings for Escogido in the Dominican League. Johnson, 28, was a combined 8-4, 3.19 in 102 innings last season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.