Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal is reporting on Twitter that the Pirates have signed veteran outfielder Matt Joyce to a minor league deal.
Joyce played last season with the Los Angles Angels after spending the majority of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays. Because it’s a minor league contract, the Pirates will have no financial obligation to Joyce unless he is on the opening day roster.
This is another example of GM Neil Huntingdon searching for depth as Joyce will be considered for a bench spot on the Pirates.
His career numbers are below-average (.242/.335/.426) and his best season was in 2011 when he was named an AL All-Star.
The left-handed hitting 31-year old will compete for the fourth outfield spot although there is no other pure outfielders in camp. Players like Jason Rogers, Jake Goebbert and Sean Rodriguez have all played outfield during their careers even though their primary positions are in the infield.
The starting outfield for the Bucs is set with Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco.
However, Joyce brings experience to the table with 2,817 MLB plate appearances under his belt.
Despite the poor numbers in recent years, don’t be surprised if Joyce makes the roster since the Pirates have shown a preference to keep guys with experience over players that have lingered between the majors and minor leagues that are sometime tagged with the potential tag.
Joyce only played in 93 games last season, the lowest amount since 2010.
He was drafted in 2005 in the 12th round by Detroit and made his MLB debut with the Tigers in 2008. He was traded to Tampa Bay for Edwin Jackson after the 2008 season.