Apr 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Josh Stinson delivers a pitch during the game against Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates signing of Josh Stinson is not a big time deal on the news itself, but it could become something that pushes the bullpen up to another level during the 2015 season. Stinson has never put up solid numbers (0-2, 4.47 ERA in 39 games), but anytime a team adds a new arm into the mix, the rest of the relievers have to look at where they stand.
The only two for sure pitchers in the Pirates pen have to be Mark Melancon (33 saves) and Tony Watson (34 holds). While others may feel comfortable, obviously management does not because of the addition of Stinson. Stinson should be a wake-up call to the others relievers. If the MLB postseason has shown us anything, especially with the Kansas City Royals, relievers may be the true key on whether a team is for real come October. The Royals basically guarantee a victory if they have a lead in the seventh. The bullpen is unhittable. The Pirates can learn a lot from this. The Pirates did have a solid bullpen but even Watson’s seven blown saves left a lot to be desired. These numbers have to improve if the Pirates are going to be serious contenders next season.
Stinson may not even make the Opening Day roster next season, but he could help other pitchers in the minors. It is more likely he will start in Indy than in Pittsburgh and at age 27, he could act as a teacher to his teammates. If he does make the team, he will be an asset in a variety of ways and making other pitchers nervous about their roles will be one of them.