Tuesday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates made their second free agent signing of the day by agreeing to a one-year deal with righty Vince Velasquez
Entering the offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates had no bigger need than to add more pitching. Tuesday afternoon, general manager Ben Cherington took two steps toward addressing this need. The second of these two steps was signing veteran righty Vince Velasquez to a one-year deal worth $3.125 million.
Signing Velasquez came after the Pittsburgh Pirates signed left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia earlier in the day. It is not yet known if Velasquez will pitch out of the starting rotation or the bullpen for the Pirates.
During his MLB career Velasquez has worked as both a starting pitcher and a reliever. Last season, Velasquez posted a 4.78 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 7.8% walk rate, and a 21.6% strikeout rate in 75.1 innings of work. These 75.1 innings came in 27 starts, nine of which were starts, with the Chicago White Sox.
Velasquez owns a 4.93 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 9.4% walk rate, and a 25.1% strikeout rate in his eight-year MLB career. Velasquez has pitched for the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, and San Diego Padres in addition to the White Sox. Velasquez has pitched 726.1 innings across 183 MLB outings, 136 of which have been starts.
Velasquez throws a four-seamed fastball, slider, curveball, changeup, and sinker. His four-seamer was his best pitch last season, limiting opposing batters to a .352 slugging percentage to go with a 23.2% whiff rate. The pitch also ranked in the 86th percentile of baseball in fastball spin rate. His changeup generated a 30.0% whiff rate and his slider had a healthy 31.6% whiff rate. At 26.8%, his curveball also had a high whiff rate.
While Velasquez is not a flashy addition, it is one that improves the Pirate pitching staff. Especially if he does work as a reliever.