The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their signing of veteran pitcher Vince Velasquez official while also addressing the role he will play for the team
On Tuesday morning the Pittsburgh Pirates made their signing of veteran right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez official. This comes after it was reported during last week’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings that the Pirates and Velasquez had agreed to a one-year, $3.125 million contract.
With the Chicago White Sox last season Velasquez pitched 75.1 innings in 27 appearances, nine of which were starts. Velasquez walked 7.8% of batters faced, struck out 21.6%, and posted a 4.78 ERA and a 4.25 FIP. He allowed home runs at a rate of 1.31 HR/9.
With Velasquez working so extensively out of the bullpen last season it led to some question about his role with the Pirates. Well, these questions have been answered as general manager Ben Cherington stated on Tuesday that Velasquez has “a starter’s repertoire,” and that the team expects him to start games for them in 2023.
With this news, the current Opening Day rotation for the Pirates would likely be anchored at the top by Roansy Contreras and Mitch Keller. JT Brubaker and Johan Oviedo would be in line to fill out the middle of the rotation, with Velasquez in the five spot.
Bryse Wilson and Zach Thompson could be in competition in spring training for rotation spots as well. If not, they would serve as the primary depth options when the season begins. Prospects Luis Ortiz, Quinn Priester, and Mike Burrows should all begin the season on the doorstep of the majors at the Triple-A level.
Even with the announcement that Velasquez will work as a starting pitcher, the Pirates could still use more starting pitching depth. Right now the rotation lacks quality, experience depth. Hopefully, Cherington is not done adding starting pitching.
With the signing of Velasquez the 40-man roster is now full for the Pittsburgh Pirates. When they make the signing of left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia, who was also signed at the Winter Meetings, official a 40-man roster move will need to be made.