This could shape up to be an interesting offseason for the Pirates. Between Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, and Edinson Volquez heading to free agency and some intriguing arbitration cases, they have quite a few decisions to make.
We’ll look more into the offseason storylines in the near future, but here’s a quick summary of what the Bucs did on Friday to start transitioning their roster.
First, they acquired right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for cash considerations.
Guilmet, a 27-year-old reliever, has not had any success at the big league level in a small sample size:
His minor league numbers have been much better and much more intriguing, however:
Notable: pretty ridiculous run prevention (though his ERA dipped to 3.91), excellent strikeout and walk numbers, and a WHIP near 1.
Looking at those numbers, you’d think he would be an overpowering hurler. That’s not the case — his fourseam fastball averaged just 89.99 mph in his short sample of MLB action. He throws the fourseam, a sinker, and a splitter, per Pitch f/x.
In line with the organization’s philosophy, you also might make the assumption that this is a ground ball guy. That’s not really the case either — in the minors this year, he produced a 42% ground ball rate (slightly below average), per MLBfarm.
The Pirates have been active with waiver claims recently (Bobby LaFromboise, Chaz Roe, etc.). Guilmet is another example, and I’m sure the cash considerations weren’t much. We’ll see where he fits in next year.
To make room for Guilmet on the 40-man roster, the team needed to make a cut. They designated Jose Tabata for assignment, which really shouldn’t be a shocking move.
The org. really doesn’t like losing assets; most guys they could cut would be claimed. They’re not going to lose Tabata. You’ll remember that they DFA’d him in the summer after he cleared waivers, then outrighted him to Indy. That’ll happen again — absolutely no one wants Tabata’s contract, and if they do, the Pirates should be grateful. A player can only be outrighted once without his consent, but since Tabata hasn’t accumulated five years of service time, he can’t demand to be kept on the roster or released. He’d become a free agent if he didn’t give consent, but he’s not going to walk away from this contract — no one else would give him anything like that.
He’ll make $4 million next season, and this move is even more indication that he isn’t fitting into their plans. If they can dump him on any team this offseason, they need to do it.
More minor news: Chris McGuiness and Vin Mazzaro declared free agency. Neither a surprise. McGuiness, a first baseman picked up last offseason, was a good on-base guy at Indy this year without a ton of power and no future in Pittsburgh. Mazzaro played a role for the 2013 Pirates, but appeared in just five MLB games this past season. He was DFA’d twice during the year, claimed by no one, and didn’t even get a shot as a September call-up.
More to come.
Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images; Scott Halleran/Getty Images