Forgotten Pittsburgh Pirates: Pedro Ciriaco

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The Pittsburgh Pirates had a handful of forgettable utility men in the 2010s. Pedro Ciriaco was one of the many that the Pirates used.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had many different utility guys in the late 2000s and early 2010s. With so many different utility men who get sent to Triple-A, recalled, claimed off waivers, signed to small time deals, or just a filler player in a trade, it’s easy to forget some of the ones the Pittsburgh Pirates have had throughout the years, especially during the 20 losing seasons. One of them was infielder Pedro Ciriaco.

Ciriaco was originally a farmhand for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was signed by the team as an international free agent in 2003, but never really became a notable prospect. He was pretty much a light hitting, defensively minded, speedy middle infield prospect. From 2005, his first pro season, to 2009, Ciricao stole 124 bases in 561 games, but hit just 16 home runs. Despite having speed, Ciriaco could never really put it to good use as his on base percentage never even approached .350.

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Ciriaco during the 2010 deadline along with catcher Chris Snyder. The Pirates acquired the two in exchange for D.J. Carrasco, Ryan Church, and another utility infielder, Bobby Crosby. Ciriaco made his debut as a September call up, but only appeared in eight games and received six plate appearances. He mainly served as a pinch runner and pinch hitter and only saw 2 innings in the field at shortstop.

The following season, Ciriaco returned as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. Through 23 games, the speedy infielder only received 34 plate appearances, collecting 10 hits, two doubles, and a triple. He started four of the seven games he played at shortstop, but also was a defensive replacement for second base, third base, and left field.

Eventually, the Pittsburgh Pirates let Pedro Ciriaco go in free agency, where he signed on with the Boston Red Sox for the 2012 season. This would be the most playing time the utility man got in his entire career. Through 272 plate appearances, Ciriaco batted to a .293/.315/.390 line with a 90 OPS+. Most of his time came at third base, where he logged 298.1 innings and posting a -1 DRS, -0.9 UZR, and 0.3 range runs above average. But he also saw 104 innings at second base, 95.2 at short, and 20 in total between the three outfield spots. His base running was his biggest contributor as he stole 16 bags in 19 attempts, and had +4.1 base running runs above average.

In 2013, Ciriaco played a lot less and bounced around with three teams. Those include the Red Sox, San Diego Padres, and Kansas City Royals. In total, he only appeared in 56 games and received 137 plate appearances, collecting 28 hits, nine walks, eight extra base hits, and striking out 23 times. Again, he played very few games in 2014 with the Royals. He totaled just 25 games and 49 plate appearances.

2015 was the last time Ciriaco was given a notable amount of playing time, and also was his last season in the MLB. Now with the Atlanta Braves, the still fast utility man was put into 84 games and got 154 plate appearances. He hit just .261/.275/.352 with a 73 OPS+. Like in 2012, he got playing time all over the diamond, but mainly saw innings at third base. However, most of his plate appearances, 46 of them to be exact, came as a pinch hitter.

After 2015, Ciriaco bounced around with three teams in 2016. He originally started out as depth for the Texas Rangers, but was traded to the Marlins for pitching depth, that being Eric Jokisch. The Marlins eventually released Ciriaco where he signed on with the Detroit Tigers for the rest of the year. This was the final time Ciriaco was part of any MLB club. In both 2017 and 2018, Ciricao finished out his pro career as part of the Mexican and Dominican Winter leagues.

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While Ciriaco really only had a pretty forgettable major league career, one where he was a depth guy for most of it, he still made a pro career out of baseball. Ciricao played for 13 years, that’s a lot more than what some guys who are just organization filler for most of their careers can say.

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