UPDATE 3:10 PM: The Pirates have designated Brandon Moss for assignment, according to Jennifer Langosch. The Pirates now have ten days to trade, waive, or release Moss. Moss will most likely be claimed via waivers, although there’s a chance the Pirates work out a trade with someone who wouldn’t normally get him through the waiver process. The 40-man roster/payroll projection is updated with the addition of Penn and the removal of Moss. Not much of a change.
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via MLBTR), the Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed right handed pitcher Hayden Penn from the Florida Marlins. Click on Penn’s name to go to his BUCCO Fans player page.
Penn was once a top prospect in the Baltimore Orioles farm system, and rated in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in both 2005 and 2006. He has three plus pitches: a mid-90s fastball, a curve, and a changeup. Penn’s biggest problem so far in his short major league career has been control. He owns a career 6.1 BB/9 ratio in 80 major league innings.
In 2009 the Orioles traded Penn, who was out of options at the time, to the Marlins for infielder Robert Andino. Penn moved to Florida’s bullpen where he put up a great K/9 ratio of 11.0 in 22 innings, but a horrible 8.2 BB/9 ratio to go along with that. Penn also spent time in AAA for Florida in 2009 as a starter. There he posted an 8.0 K/9, a 3.3 BB/9, and a 1.2 HR/9 ratio in 70 innings. In his career, Penn has a 7.5 K/9, a 3.0 BB/9, and a 1.0 HR/9 in 278.1 innings at the AAA level.
Penn is out of options, so he is pretty much a lock to make the 25-man roster. The only way he wouldn’t make the team is if the Pirates tried to sneak him through waivers closer to the start of the season, although they probably wouldn’t have much success trying to sneak through a 25 year old pitcher with a mid-90s fastball who was once a top prospect in baseball. They could also trade him, although it seems more likely that they’re going to take a flier on him, which isn’t a bad move.
Penn could be a back of the rotation starter or a late inning reliever for the Pirates if he fixes his control issues. We’ve seen him have success in that area at the AAA level. He just needs to carry that over to the majors. Penn is only 25, so he still has time to get his career on track. If he can do it with the Pirates, this move would be a steal.
A player would have to be removed from the 40-man roster in order for Penn to be added. Jennifer Langosch tweeted that Brandon Moss ran out of the dugout and in to the clubhouse at McKechnie Field, which could mean Moss is being designated for assignment to make room for Penn. That would be significant, as it not only would clear up space and potentially end the Moss era in Pittsburgh, but it would signify that John Raynor has won a spot on the 25-man roster. I’ll update the 40-man roster and payroll page when the corresponding move is made. I’ve already updated the 25-man roster projection with the move.