Pirates make a surprising choice in regards to lefty reliever Josh Fleming

After a rough game against the Brewers, the Pirates designate Josh Fleming for assingment.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

On Monday night, the Pirates got an excellent start from Mitch Keller as he threw six scoreless innings. After Keller was pulled, Josh Fleming was put in to pitch and he allowed six runs in less than two innings of work. The very next day, Robert Murray reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates were designating Josh Fleming for assignment.

The Pirates signed Fleming in the offseason on a split contract worth $850,000. He had a long relief in the Pittsburgh bullpen and until recently, was very solid. In March and April, Fleming posted a 1-1 record with an earned run average of 2.25 in 16 innings pitched and struck out 10 batters. He also has a WHIP of 1.06 and an opponent batting average of .196 in this time frame. Once May came around, Fleming fell apart.

In just four outings in May, Fleming pitched three innings and allowed 12 hits, three walks, and eight earned runs. This made his stats take off as this equated to an earned run average of 5.68, a WHIP of 1.68, and an opponent batting average of .303.

This is not very good and this resulted in his designation for assignment. The Pirates decided to recall right handed pitcher, Ryder Ryan, to take Flemings' spot in the bullpen. That corresponding move does not fill the open spot on the 40-man roster, but it does add a fresh arm to a taxed bullpen.

The Pirates only have one long relief arm in their bullpen at the moment and that is Luis Ortiz, who has been great in this role. They need to add another one with how they are utilizing a six-man rotation. One pitcher they could add is left-handed pitcher, Eric Lauer. Lauer was signed in the offseason to a minor league contract.

If the Pirates want to keep Lauer in the organization, they must add him to the 40-man roster by tomorrow.

If they do not add him, he will become a free agent. This season, Lauer has a 2-2 record with an earned run average of 5.52 in 29.1 innings pitched and has struck out 37 batters. He also has a WHIP of 1.43 and an opponent batting average of .272. Although he has not been great, the Pirates do not have many long relief options or multiple left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.

Eric Lauer is an arm that the Pirates could add to the 40-man roster now that Josh Fleming has opened up a spot. There could be other spots on the 40-man opening up soon as Marco Gonzales and Ryan Borucki are both injured and currently unable to throw.