Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Bullpen Help In George Kontos

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 21: Reliever George Kontos
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 21: Reliever George Kontos /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have not only added Sean Rodriguez, the club has also added relief pitcher George Kontos.

Former San Francisco Giants relief pitcher George Kontos has been claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates the team has announced.

Kontos on the 2017 season has pitched in 51.2 innings, posting a 3.83 ERA and 4.02 FIP.  The main attraction to Kontos has been his spike in strikeouts, as he has gone from 16.2 percent last season to 24.7 percent this season.  He has also been excellent in getting the ball on the ground, as his ground ball rate is 47.9 percent, which is also an improvement as he was at just 44.3 percent last season.  Kontos has also improved his walk rate, going from 9.3 percent in 2016 to 7.6 percent this season.

There is a downside to Kontos, his home run rate has gone from 1.4 percent to 3.6 percent, and at AT&T Park that is extremely bad.  Kontos hopefully will replace Joaquin Benoit in high leverage situations, as Benoit has pitched two games for the Pirates and has given up two home runs, but the real hope is A.J. Schugel will become the seventh inning guy.

The player that Kontos will replace is Jhan Marinez.  Marinez was a waiver claim from the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this season, and he has a 3.18 ERA, but a much worse 4.56 FIP in 34 innings of work for the Pirates this season.

The Pirates also announced their move for Sean Rodriguez, as they designated outfielder Danny Ortiz for assignment.  Ortiz has been a Triple A organization player is whole career, but he did earn himself nine games and 13 plate appearances for the Pirates this season.

Next: Pirates Acquire Sean Rodriguez

The Pirates added Kontos in a move to strengthen the bullpen for this year and the extended future, as Kontos is a free agent at the end of the 2019 season.  He is arbitration eligible in both 2018 and 2019, and he only earned $1.75 million in arbitration this year.  The Pirates looked to fill two needs next year now for low-cost, and will hopefully look to add more help this offseason to fill the rest of needs, such as a high leverage arm.

*Numbers from fangraphs