Pittsburgh Pirates should pursue this recently DFA'd reliever

The Pittsburgh Pirates should consider acquiring a key piece of the Luis Arraez trade.
San Diego Padres v LG Twins
San Diego Padres v LG Twins / Chung Sung-Jun/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Pirates' bullpen hasn't been nearly as strong and reliable as anyone would have hoped or expected it to be this year. They've blown multiple games, some of which were in the Pirates' grasp. They've had numerous injuries, and pitchers who were extremely effective and reliable last year simply haven't been. The Pirates need to make a move for some relief pitching help, and while I expect them to make some sort of significant trade this summer, the Miami Marlins recently designated a noteworthy relief prospect for assignment: Woo-Suk Go, who the Pirates should consider going after.

The San Diego Padres originally signed Go this past offseason out of the KBO with the hopes he could improve their bullpen. But the South Korean right-hander never appeared in the Majors for the Padres, and was instead quickly shipped out as part of the package needed to acquire two-time batting champion Luis Arraez. His numbers between Double-A and Triple-A this year are solid. The right-hander owns a 3.84 ERA, but a 2.84 FIP and a 6% walk rate, and has yet to allow a home run. He's induced a lot of ground balls, with a 49.2% GB%, and has a fly ball rate under 30% at 29.2%. But Go has not induced many strikeouts, with just a 20% K%. Clearly, given that two organizations have already moved on from him, there's reason to be skeptical.

Pirates should pursue DFA'd Woo-Suk Go

Go was one of the better relievers in the KBO prior to heading to the United States. Last year, Go had a 3.68 ERA, but a 3.03 FIP, and 1.36 WHIP in 44 innings. Go was a groundball specialist, posting a groundball rate over 60% in each of his seasons in Korea. Go got a lot of K's, but he occasionally struggled with his control and had an 11.6% walk rate. Although his ERA was a tad high for a reliever, his FIP and xFIP weren't much different from 2021 and 2022, when he posted ERAs of 2.17 and 1.48, respectively.

Go averages about 93 MPH with his fastball, with about average vertical break but slightly below average horizontal movement. Even so, he's kept minor league hitters to just an 83 MPH exit velo with the pitch. His curveball also has about average movement and sits low-80s, but his primary breaking pitch is a cutter that comes in around 89-90 MPH. Go throws this pitch with nearly 30 inches of vertical break. Finally, there's his mid-80s slider, with nearly 40 inches of drop and above-average horizontal movement.

The deal Go originally signed was for two years at $4.5 million in total. It also included a third-year mutual option. An AAV of $2.25 million isn't much, even for the Pirates. A pursuit of Go would definitely be worth the Pirates' time.

While I wouldn't expect Go to slot into a higher-leverage role immediately, the righty might eventually work into one if he's given the chance. He had multiple 30+ save seasons in Korea, so he's not unfamiliar with being given an important bullpen role. Either way, with the current struggles the Pirates have had with their relievers, they need to make a move, at least to add some depth. Acquiring Go might not be the most high-profile move, and they should still make a more substantial move to improve the pen at the deadline; Go, on the other hand, has the potential to be a low-risk/high-reward pick-up.