Pirates Offseason Extension Candidate: Juan Nicasio

Oct 1, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Juan Nicasio (12) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Juan Nicasio (12) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pirates’ reliever Juan Nicasio is set to become a free agent after the 2017 season. Should the Pirates look to extend him?

As the  offseason gets ready to begin to heat up, here at Rum Bunter we will begin to look at Pirate players that are have earned a possible contract extension this offseason. In the coming days we will take a look at multiple players that fit this bill. Today we will examine one of the Pirates best relief pitchers.

The relief pitcher I am talking about is Juan Nicasio. The Pirates signed Nicasio on December 10th after he was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The original idea was for Nicasio to be in the bullpen, but this changed due to a dominant Spring Training.

After Nicasio dominated in Spring Training he started the year in the Pirates’ rotation. However, in June he would be moved back to the bullpen. And after he was moved to the bullpen Nicasio was one of the National League’s best relievers.

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Juan Nicasio was moved to the bullpen on June 25th. After this move he pitched 54 2/3 innings allowing 50 hits, just three home runs, and he struck out 73 batters. As a reliever Nicasio also walked just 18 batters (2.92 BB/9) and his WHIP was 1.24.

While working out of the bullpen Nicasio held opposing hitters to a .249 batting average against and just a .308 wOBA. All of this led to Nicasio owning a 2.96 ERA, 2.45 FIP, and a 2.87 xFIP in these final 54 2/3 innings pitched.

One reason Nicasio is so valuable as a reliever is due to the fact he can pitch in multiple roles out of the bullpen. Juan Nicasio can pitch multiple innings, as well as being a one inning power arm. There are not many pitchers that can be both a successful long man and back end power arm, but Nicasio is one of them. Due to this, he brings a lot of value to the bullpen.

As I said above, Nicasio is slated to hit free agency after the 2017. But, in my opinion, the Pirates should attempt to work out a contract extension with Nicasio this offseason. The Pirates already control Felipe Rivero long term, and doing the same with Nicasio would give them a pair of great building blocks in the bullpen for a long time.

Next: Pirates Shake Up Their Coaching Staff

In my opinion, attempting to reach a contract extension with Juan Nicasio this offseason would be a smart move by Neal Huntington. Last year Nicasio proved to be one of the best relief pitchers in the National League. Additionally, he can fit multiple roles in the bullpen which adds to his value.

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