Thursday evening the Pittsburgh Pirates signed veteran left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith to a minor league deal
Thursday evening the Pittsburgh Pirates made a minor league signing. This signing came when the team signed veteran left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith to a minor league deal. Smith's deal includes an invite to major league spring training.
Smith signs with the Pirates after spending the last 2+ seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The lefty joined the Diamondbacks when he was traded to the Snakes by the Miami Marlins in August 2020.
In 44 games with the Diamondbacks last season Smith pitched 70 innings. Smith posted a 4.11 ERA, 5.57 FIP, 12.9% walk rate, and a 21.5% strikeout rate with Arizona in 2022. He struggled mightily with the long ball allowing home runs at a 1.80 HR/9 rate.
The 2022 season was the first that saw Smith pitch primarily as a relief pitcher as 43 of his 44 appearances came out of the Arizona bullpen. Smith had previously made 13 starts in 2021, 4 of his 5 appearances in 2020 were starts, 28 starts in 2019, and 16 starts in 2018.
A 14th round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Smith made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees in 2017. Smith has pitched 447.0 innings in his MLB career, posting a 4.55 ERA, 5.04 FIP, 11.3% walk rate, and a 24.9% strikeout rate.
With the Pittsburgh Pirates still searching for left-handed bullpen help Smith cracking the team's Opening Day bullpen could be a real possibility. That may not be something that many people would expect for a minor league signing that is made this close to the start of spring training, but it would not be a shocker to see Smith in the bullpen.
Even if Smith does not make the team's Opening Day roster, he should still have an opportunity to pitch in the majors at some point in 2023. Left-handed pitchers can always find spots in the major leagues.