Now I want to preface this and say that the chances the Pittsburgh Pirates designate Newman for assignment are very, very slim. However, I wouldn’t say the chances are absolute zero. Newman is easily replaceable. The shortstop market is crowded, so the Pirates wouldn’t get all that much in return right now.
So why DFA Newman? Well, for one, even with Diego Castillo and Oneil Cruz coming up, the Pirates have about 5 other players that can play shortstop. Cole Tucker, Rodolfo Castro, and Hoy Park all have a ton of experience at shortstop. The Pirates don’t have to start the year with Newman on the 26-man, or 40-man rosters.
Newman has set such a low bar that moving on from him wouldn’t massively affect the Pirate current or future state, if at all. Newman has a .570 OPS through his last 726 trips to the plate. As much as Tucker may not be a good hitter, he has a career of .602 OPS and .640 OPS last season. The chances that one of Tucker, Castro, or Park could replicate that, at the very least, is very possible.
But designating Newman for assignment pretty much forgoes the possibility of trade and potentially getting back anything of value. Sure, the return for Newman might just include salary relief and a lottery ticket prospect, but that’s better than nothing. Outright releasing him means you still have to pay his salary for the season.