The Pittsburgh Pirates recently cut two veterans from their roster. One of them will be heading overseas to play.
Every year there are roster decisions that have to be made. This year for the Pittsburgh Pirates Jose Osuna was one of those decisions. When it came down to it, Osuna was at best the fourth-best option at his position, primarily first base. Josh Bell and Colin Moran are slated to get the primary innings at first base, while Phillip Evans will act as the corner bench bat.
It made sense why Osuna, a player who has failed to get it going at the big league level, was designated for assignment. Overall, he only slashed .240/.280/.430, while only hitting .205 in 2020. However, after being DFA’d, it was reported that Osuna was gaining interest from teams in both the KBO (Korea) and NPB (Japan). So it made even more sense for the team to give Osuna this opportunity to get a head start on negotiating rather than hold onto him for a few months and cut him later.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates utility player will be heading to Japan to continue his professional baseball career. Osuna announced on his personal Instagram account that he would be joining the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the NPB. Jon Heyman confirmed that Osuna would be signing a one year deal:
This makes sense. As noted above, Osuna had no clear path to playing time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Going to Japan will allow Osuna to play every day on a professional level. Many players have started to do this and find success. Osuna signing a one-year deal signals that he hopes to use the Swallows as a jumping-off point to prove to a MLB team that he is a viable option.
Furthermore, this guarantees Osuna a salary. He is entering his age 28 season and has spent time bouncing back and forth between the minors and the Pittsburgh Pirates. When that happens players lose a significant part of their potential earnings. Now Osuna will get a guaranteed higher salary than if he were to be stuck playing taxi squad for a big league club in 2021.