BREAKING NEWS: The Pittsburgh Pirates have made roster moves on back to back days, both being associated with trips to the disabled list.
There it is, the move that many fans have waited for, well sort of. According to Adam Berry, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat writer at MLB.com, Antonio Bastardo has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. Apparently Bastardo is dealing with a “quad strain.” Antonio Bastardo has been a train wreck so far this season. Over the off-season, the Pittsburgh Pirates apparently worked hard to deal the veteran lefty but were not able to make a deal. Many thought a deal could take place during Spring Training, however Bastardo did not do the Pittsburgh Pirates any favors by having a terrible Spring.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, things did not improve from Spring to the Regular season. After last night’s game, Bastardo’s ERA sits at a 16.20 through six total games. He has given up at least one earned run in every game that he has appeared in thus far. He has two specific games where he gave up tjree earned runs in a third of an inning, and four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. All in all, it was time to make some sort of move to get Bastardo off of the team’s everyday roster.
Some would have liked to see Bastardo cut. However, he is just two years removed from a very successful season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and in the NL Central. Also, the Bucs owe him somewhere around $4-5 million. His actual contract pays him $6.5, but the Mets kicked in some cash when they made the swap last season. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not going to simply cut him and eat that money. This disabled list stint gives Neal Huntington and company time to explore all options and/or have him do a lot of side work to get him to where he was two seasons ago. On the other hand, maybe Bastardo has had some discomfort and has tried to pitch through it hoping it would go away. Either way, this DL trip will help everyone involved.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates called up 24-year-old reliever Johnny Barbato. The right hander was acquired from the New York Yankees just last week in a deal for a player to be named later or cash. Barbato has thrown three scoreless innings so far since joining Triple-A Indianapolis. Additionally, he has struck out three batters while only giving up only one baserunner so far. Here is more on Barbato from Marty Leap’s article on the day the Pirates acquired him:
"The 24-year old Barbato is a former 6th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres. Barbato owns a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and has sink to it. He also throws a curveball that can be a plus pitch. This gives him the pitch duo needed to be a back of the bullpen arm down the road.In these 13 innings pitched he walked 5 batters, struck out 15, and allowed a pair of home runs. His 7.62 ERA was ugly, but his 3.74 xFIP was very encouraging. He also owned a 45.7 percent ground ball rate at the Major League level. In 48 1/3 innings pitched at Triple-A last season Johnny Barbato had a 2.61 ERA and a 3.44 FIP. He averaged 9.12 K/9, 4.28 BB/9, and just 0.56 HR/9."
Barbato has an interesting makeup, and he has had success at the minor league level. Being he is only 24 years of age, it is hard to make a strict judgment on him. He only threw 13 innings and was pitching at Yankee Stadium, which as we know is not an easy task, ask Ivan Nova and A.J. Burnett. Barbato will likely get a chance to pitch right away as the Pittsburgh Pirates chewed through a good bit of their bullpen last night. It will be interesting to get a first look at his pitches and velocity when he does get in eventually. Also, this should be an upgrade as it will be near impossible for him to be as bad at Bastardo was.