The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed left-handed pitcher Philippe Valiquette to a minor league deal, according to his agent on Twitter. Valiquette was recently with the Milwaukee Brewers, spending time in 2012 with their high-A and Double-A affiliates. In his time in Double-A he struggled, posting an 8.49 ERA in 11.2 innings. He missed the entire 2011 season with a torn pectoral muscle, and was coming back from the injury in 2012.
He’s a very interesting prospect, as he used to throw 100+ MPH, topping out at 103 in the futures game two years ago. He was with the Reds for most of his career, reaching as high as Triple-A, where he had a 4.29 ERA in 35.2 innings, with a 31:14 KBB ratio. His agent noted that “you just never give up on 100mph+“. I’d have to agree with that. If the cost is a minor league deal, and you get a chance at a left-hander who was throwing with that kind of velocity two years ago, you take the shot. Worst case, Valiquette provides Indianapolis with depth. Best case, the 25-year-old turns his career around, makes the majors, and the Pirates have him under control for six seasons.
UPDATE 12:20 AM: I’ve seen a few reports about Valiquette’s velocity. Wilbur notes in the comments that Valiquette was listed as throwing more in the mid-90s. I’ve seen several Reds sites that mentioned he hit 100 MPH in the past. I’ve also seen a few reports about him sitting in the upper 80s to lower 90s range last year in Spring Training with Seattle. I don’t think anyone should expect him to throw 100 MPH, although I’d say it’s a good gamble for the Pirates to take in hopes that he could rediscover that velocity the further he gets from his injury.