The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed first baseman Jeff Clement and right handed pitcher Ryota Igarashi to minor league deals, per a team press release. Both players will receive invites to Spring Training.
We heard about Igarashi at the end of last week. The right hander has struggled in his Major League career since coming over from Japan in 2010. Last year he had a 4.66 ERA in 38.2 innings with the Mets, along with a 9.8 K/9 and a 6.5 BB/9 ratio. His walk rates have been high in each of his two years in the majors. The team is strong on bullpen options, so Igarashi will likely be stashed away at Indianapolis with the hopes that he finally shows the stuff that made him a top pitcher in the Japanese leagues for ten years.
The Pirates originally added Clement in the 2009 trade that sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to Seattle. In 363 at-bats in the majors he has a .223/.281/.383 line. He’s played at AAA for most of the last few seasons, including for 59 at-bats in an injury shortened 2011 season. Clement was recovering from a knee injury, and returned at the end of the year to hit for a .271/.358/.407 line. He’s got the power to hit 25 homers in the majors, but he doesn’t draw many walks and doesn’t hit for average, which makes him more of an AAAA player.