Pittsburgh Pirates add Kevin Siegrist to bullpen mix

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Kevin Siegrist
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Kevin Siegrist /

On Saturday morning, the Pittsburgh Pirates made an addition to their bullpen

The Pirate bullpen is now a little deeper. Left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist and the club agreed to a minor league contract on Saturday morning. Siegrist will now report to Pirate camp and look to make the Opening Day roster.

The ex-Cardinal and Phillie reliever is a pitcher I have wanted to the Pirates to pursue for some time now. When the Cardinals designated Siegrist for assignment on August 31 last season, I wrote that he was a pitcher the Pirates should add. Well, a few months later they have.

Kevin Siegrist has spent the past five seasons in the Major Leagues. In 245 2/3 career innings pitched the hard throwing lefty owns a 3.04 ERA, 3.64 FIP, and a 2.1 fWAR. He has averaged 10.48 K/9 in his career but has also struggled with control at times averaging 4.25 BB/9.

Much of 2017 was a struggle for Siegrist as he finished the season with a career worst walk rate (5.03 BB/9), ERA (4.81), and his 39 1/3 innings pitched was his lowest total since 2014. However, for much of the first five months of 2017 Siegrist battled injuries for the Cardinals.

He was better with the Phillies in September allowing just four hits, two walks, a home run, and striking out seven batters in five innings of work.

Prior to battling injuries in 2017, Kevin Siegrist appeared to be on his way to becoming one of the best left-handed setup men in the National League. From 2013-2016 Siegrist owned a 2.70 ERA, 3.49 FIP, and he averaged 10.60 K/9 and 4.10 BB/9 in 206 1/3 innings pitched.

Kevin Siegrist owns an explosive fastball that averages 93.8 miles per hour. He also throws a firm slider that averages 79 miles per hour, and a changeup to help combat right-handed hitters.

During his career Kevin Siegrist owns reverse splits but has been effective against both left and right-handed hitters. Left-handed hitters have slugged just .357 off of Siegrist with a .313 wOBA in his career, while right-handed hitters own a .349 slugging percentage and a .272 wOBA.

As currently constructed, Felipe Rivero and George Kontos are locks to make the Pirate bullpen. Barring disastrous springs Kyle Crick and Michael Feliz will be as well. This leaves eight relievers, one of which is now Siegrist, battling for three bullpen spots.

If Kevin Siegrist is healthy this spring, it would be a surprise if he did not make the Opening Day roster. Siegrist has a ton of Major League experience, he has pitched in the postseason in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and he has some of the best pure stuff of any reliever in camp.

Additionally, outside of Rivero the Pirates lack another left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. While the odds of Steven Brault making the Opening Day roster appear to be high, that may be in more of a long relief role leaving Clint Hurdle desiring more of a situational lefty. This could benefit Siegrist as well.

Next: Bucs set for Grapefruit League home opener

Kevin Siegrist will wear number 41 for the Pirates, the number formerly worn by the recently traded Daniel Hudson.