The Pittsburgh Pirates are in an interesting predicament at a specific position. The team will no doubt have to make a roster move by the end of Spring.
Things did not work out for Roberto Perez and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Perez seemed like a logical candidate that would be brought back to Pittsburgh after making an impact in 2022, albeit in only about a third of the games. Perez is now a member of the San Francisco Giants Organization, he received a split minor league deal which will pay him more if he makes the majors. Something I suggested that the Pirates should have looked into last week.
So with all that being said, the Pittsburgh Pirates only have 2 catchers on their 40-man roster. Of course, Austin Hedges is expected to be the starter. Hedges is the only catcher on the 40-man roster that actually has Big League experience. The other is top prospect, Endy Rodriguez. There is virtually no chance that a prospect who has the prospect status like Rodriguez. The Organization will most likely keep Rodriguez down until the Super-2 date passes.
So what are the Bucs going to do behind the dish in terms of a backup catcher? The team brought back Tyler Heineman on a Minor League deal. Heineman played in 52 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year.
While his overall numbers were not impressive, he displayed some positive qualities. For instance, he only struck out 13 times in those 52 games. Heineman always seemed to be a tough out and able to get the ball in play. He also showed the ability to bunt, including bunting for a base hit.
The switch hitter was also strong defensively. He accounted for 5 Defensive Runs Saved in his time with the Bucs. Also, he averaged the fastest pop time in Major League Baseball last year. Pair him with Austin Hedges and the Bucs may have some of the best pure defenders in a catching tandem in the Division. Of course, with projected impact bats Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis on the way.