The Pirates Should Claim Kevin Siegrist

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Kevin Siegrist
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Kevin Siegrist /

A long time member of the St. Louis Cardinal bullpen is now on the open market and should be picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates

Looking ahead to 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates need another left-handed pitcher in their bullpen. Currently the lone left-handed relievers in the bullpen are Felipe Rivero who Clint Hurdle insists on using in the fake closer position and Steven Brault.

While Brault has always had great numbers in the minor leagues, the results have not transferred to the Major Leagues. In 47 career Major League innings pitched Brault owns a 4.57 FIP and a 5.00 xFIP. So, counting on him for 2018 would be a dangerous gamble.

On Thursday evening, the St. Louis Cardinals designated a reliever for assignment that could help the Pirates with their left-handed relief conundrum in 2018. This reliever is 28-year-old Kevin Siegrist.

Prior to being designated for assignment Kevin Siegrist had been a mainstay in the Cardinal bullpen since 2013. in 240 2/3 career innings pitched the hard throwing Siegrist owns 279 strikeouts (10.43 K/9), a 3.62 FIP, and a 3.99 xFIP.

2017 has been a rough season for Kevin Siegrist. In 34 1/3 innings pitched he was averaging 5.24 BB/9 and was allowing 1.05 HR/9. This led to him owning a career-worst 4.98 ERA and a FIP of 4.38. Also, his 9.44 K/9 is a new career-low.

There are reasons for the Pirates to look at Kevin Siegrist as a bounce back candidate, though. First off, his .344 BABIP indicates that he has been victimized by bad defense and/or bad luck this season. His BABIP returning to the league average of .300 would improve his results.

Secondly, the single biggest issue that has plagued Siegrist in his career has been his control and no one is better at helping pitchers with control problems than Pirate pitching coach Ray Searage.

In his Major League career Kevin Siegrist has averaged 4.26 BB/9. This is simply far too high, especially for a relief pitcher. Countless pitchers have had their control problems fixed by Ray Searage, it’s time for Kevin Siegirst to be the next.

Finally, there is the stuff. Kevin Siegrist possesses a power fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. Siegirst also throws a plus change up and what can be a wipeout slider. Even in with his struggles this stuff has been on display this season as Siegrist owned a career-low 73.3 percent contact rate and a career-high 11.2 percent swinging strike rate in 2017.

Adding to the intrigue in adding Kevin Siegrist is that he comes with two years of team control. Siegrist is arbitration eligible for both 2018 and 2019. This means the Pirates would get the hard throwing Siegrist for two years.

Also, Kevin Siegrist has had great success against left-handed hitters in his career. Left-handed hitters own a .345 slugging percentage and a .309 wOBA off of Siegrist in his career. This also adds to his value and intrigue as the National League Central is filled with left-handed hitting threats such as Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Carpenter, and Travis Shaw, among others.

Next: Juan Nicasio Claimed by the Phillies

The Pittsburgh Pirates should claim the recently DFA’d Kevin Siegrist. This would add a much needed left-handed power arm to the Pirate bullpen for 2018, as well as 2019. Also, Siegirst would have the month of September to begin to work with pitching coach Ray Searage.

Get it done, Neal.