Outfielder Aaron Hicks, ranked by MLB.com as the club's No. 3 prospect; catcher Josmil Pinto; left-handed pitcher Caleb Thielbar; infielder Danny Santana; and right-handed pitchers Kyle Gibson (No. 16), B.J. Hermsen (No. 14), Michael Tonkin and Tim Wood were added to their Major League roster.
Gibson played for three Minor League teams during the 2012 season, logging a combined 4.13 ERA over 13 games, 11 starts. Hermsen racked up a 3.22 ERA in 22 starts with Double-A New Britain.
Wood had 21 saves in 70 innings for the Pirates' Triple-A Indianapolis affiliate during the '12 season, with a 2.19 ERA. Tonkin had a 2.08 ERA through 44 games with Class A Beloit and Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Thielbar had a 2.43 ERA with six saves through 48 games combined with Fort Myers, New Britain and Triple-A Rochester.
Hicks batted .286 with 13 homers and and 61 RBIs in 129 games for New Britain. Santana sported a .286 batting average with 145 hits and 60 RBIs for Fort Myers, and Pinto launched 14 homers while racking up a .295 average combined with Fort Myers and New Britain.
The move protected the players from the Rule 5 Draft. Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.
Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft, held at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 6 in Nashville, Tenn. If that player doesn't remain on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.