The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed another veteran outfield option. This veteran is coming in on a minor league deal but has a Spring Training invite.
Going into the offseason, one of the major needs for the Pittsburgh Pirates was to sign a quality fourth outfielder. However, they also needed an outfielder who could fill in for Gregory Polanco until around the end of May, or beginning of June, when Polanco is set to return from shoulder surgery.
Well, the team filled that spot by signing former Cleveland Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Still, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic also reported that the team was looking to bring in another veteran outfield option on a minor league deal. Rosenthal tweeted this earlier last week:
"“Even after signing free-agent outfielder J.B. Shuck to a minor-league contract, #Pirates still looking at other OFs – Brandon Guyer, Cameron Maybin, etc. – on similar deals.”"
The Pittsburgh Pirates did not sign Brandon Guyer or Cameron Maybin, however, they did sign former New York Yankees standout Melky Cabrera. Ken Rosenthal and Rob Biertempfel, both of The Athletic, reported that agreement between the two sides. Biertempfel added that Cabrera is getting a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
Cabrera has floated around the league a lot the last few years after playing his first five years with the Yankees. Through his 14 year career, the now 34-year-old has batted .286/.335/.420, but has always played up and down defense. Last season, Cabrera played for the Cleveland Indians, also coming in on a minor league deal. He provided really good production and hit .280/.335/.420 with six home runs in 78 games. He played both left field and right field, grading out with a positive UZR in both corners, but he accounted for negative defensive runs saved.
So really, Cabrera appears to be a really adequate bench outfield option. He is a solid hitter with good enough defense. The switch hitter might have a good chance to break camp with the Pirates as the team’s primary fourth outfielder, with Chisenahall slated as the everyday right fielder. Also, with Chisenhall’s injury issue history, Cabrera will be a veteran that is able to fill in early in the season.
Prospects like Jason Martin and Bryan Reynolds will need to spend at least the first half of the season at Triple-A. Also, with how the Pittsburgh Pirates handle the Super-Two cut off, the Bucs would likely prefer to not call up one of those two until after the date.
While it is not a big signing, Melky Cabrera could be an add that proves to have more value than his minor league contract suggests. This now makes the sixth veteran the team has signed on a minor league deal in the last week, along with Tom Koehler, J.B. Shuck, Brandon Maurer, Nick Franklin, and of course Francisco Liriano.