Non-Tender Trade Candidate – Chris Volstad

Throughout the 2011-2012 off-season, Kevin Creagh will be looking at players that have been rumored to be non-tender or trade candidates, based primarily off of MLB Trade Rumors’ Off-Season Outlook series.  The review isn’t to suggest that the players are being pursued by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The purpose of the series is to explore the potential options on the market to see who might be a good fit for the 2012 roster.

Continuing on with the series of posts related to trade targets from the potential non-tendered player pool, my search has led me to look at starting pitching.  Perhaps you may have heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to not pick up Paul Maholm’s $9.75 million option for the year 2012.  I know… it didn’t garner much traction around here, either.

This coupled with the hip labrum surgery to Charlie Morton (who may not be ready for Opening Day) and the potential non-tendering of Ross Ohlendorf has led to some consternation about how the Pirates will fill the rotation in 2012.  Perhaps Chris Volstad could be part of that solution.  Volstad was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 1st round of 2005.  An interesting side note is that if the Pirates were to acquire Volstad, he would be the 5th first rounder from the 2005 draft to have been in the Pirates organization at some point (Jeff Clement, Andrew McCutchen, Aaron Thompson, Craig Hansen were the other 4).

Volstad stands 6 foot 8 inches tall, but interestingly is not that hard of a thrower.  His fastball sits 90-91 mph over his career.  I’m always amazed when pitchers that size can’t unlock the leverage they possess to get it into the mid-90’s.

Volstad will be entering arbitration for the first time this off-season, so like Mike Aviles in the previous post the Pirates could potentially control Volstad for 3 years.  Volstad will be 25 years old during the 2012 season, indicating that his best days may still be ahead of him.  During their Offseason Outlook series, Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (MLBTR) estimated his potential arb-1 salary to be $2.6 million.

In 2011, Chris Volstad took the ball for 29 starts and pitched 165-2/3 innings, so he’s not a potential workhorse at this point.  He had a K/9 of 6.36 and a BB/9 of 2.66, but was extremely homer prone with a rate of 1.25 HR/9 (and a 15.5% HR/FB) which led to his unsightly 4.89 ERA.  However, his FIP was 4.32 which meant that his defense behind him didn’t do him many favors — important for a ground ball pitcher like Volstad (52.3 GB%).  Once you normalize his HR/FB rate, his xFIP was 3.64.

Last year his curve was his best pitch, as it was worth 1.49 extra runs per 100 pitches.  Sadly, his fastball was his worst pitch at -1.57 runs/100 pitches.  The good news is that his swinging strike percentage was the highest of his career at 7.9%.

If you’ve stuck with me through the torrent of numbers I unleashed on you, here’s the big picture on Volstad.  The MIAMI Marlins are moving to a new stadium in 2012 and want to make a big splash with their fans.  A recent news report has their opening day payroll climbing to $85 million potentially, up from the $57.7 million it was in 2011.  The Marlins have been linked with every big name free agent on the market, including Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and C.J. Wilson.  The Marlins may be looking to shed some salary in order to re-allocate it to a big ticket free agent.  Potentially saving $2.6 million on Volstad to toss to Wilson, joined with Volstad’s heretofore so-so career, could be the impetus behind the possible non-tendering of Volstad.

Volstad is not a game-changer acquistion, but it could be appealing to obtain a 25 year old pitcher with 3 years of control left for the team.  As with most of these acquistions for non-tender types, the return would only require a low-level player, most likely a reliever.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

The Quiet Start to Free Agency

Next Story »

Pirates Watched Jamie Moyer Pitch

  • Anonymous

    Not much of an upgrade from Maholm, if at all, I think the Bucs can do better and should do better.

    • michael

      Totally agree;  I hope and pray the Bucs are done with picking up other teams trash

  • Anonymous

    if its any upgrade at a fraction of the cost for a 25 yr old, should be considered. but i agree want better

  • Lee Young

    Re: “I’m always amazed when pitchers that size can’t unlock the leverage they possess to get it into the mid-90′s.”

    I’m 6’1″ and I can’t get my FB up over 65 MPH….with a breeze behind me. :)


Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    18 hours ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    2 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    3 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    4 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    6 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles