The Pittsburgh Pirates made a couple of minor league signings yesterday. They picked up a pitcher in one and an outfielder in the other.
Yesterday afternoon it was reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a minor league deal with reliever Brandon Maurer. Maurer is being brought in as a potential low-risk high reward pitcher. That is one type of reason teams make minor league signings, in hopes to catch lightning in the bottle. This worked for the Pittsburgh Pirates a few years ago when they picked up Juan Nicasio.
However, when teams sign veterans to minor league deals it also can be to provide experienced depth at Triple-A for the major league roster. The Pittsburgh Pirates also made a deal like this yesterday as well. The Pittsburgh Pirates announced late last night that the team had reached a minor league agreement with outfielder J.B. Shuck. Shuck, who has had several big league stints, will provide a veteran presence and outfield depth at Triple-A Indianapolis. Shuck also received an invite to Spring Training.
Some may be familiar with Shuck as he has spent a decent amount of time in the big leagues. Since 2011, Shuck has played in 433 big league games, playing for multiple teams starting with the Astros before playing for the Angels, Indians, White Sox, and most recently this past year the Marlins. Shuck is now 31 years old and is primarily used in the outfield corners.
Overall, Shuck is a light-hitting outfielder who has hit .244/.294/.316 with the five teams. His best season came in 2013 when he played in 129 games and hit .293/.331/.366. He actually finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2013. However, since then a lot has changed for the left-handed hitting outfielder. Last season he hit .199/.255/.231 with the Marlins in 70 games.
While this is not very good, his veteran experience will help provide early season depth if need be. Prospects like Jason Martin and Bryan Reynolds will join Shuck in the outfield at Triple-A. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates do not like to bring prospects up until after the Super-Two date, so Shuck will likely be the call up if need be in the early going.