The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired 1B/OF Russ Canzler from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson. Canzler is on the 40-man roster, and to make room the Pirates placed James McDonald on the 60-day DL. The Pirates have sent Canzler to Triple-A.
In his career in the majors, Canzler has a .271/.304/.396 line in 96 at-bats. In the minors this year he has a .276/.369/.430 line in 323 at-bats in Triple-A. What is interesting is his career success against left-handers.
2013: 1.346 OPS in 82 PA
2012: .860 OPS in 182 PA
2011: .921 OPS in 152 PA
2010: 1.013 OPS in 143 PA
2009: .568 OPS in 95 PA
2008: .925 OPS in 122 PA
With the exception of that 2009 year, Canzler has crushed lefties. That could be a key part to this addition. He has spent most of his time at first base, but also has time at third, and the corner outfield spots. The Pirates don’t have many guys who can hit lefties, and this could give them another option. In a limited sample of 31 plate appearances in the majors, Canzler has a 1.086 OPS.
Alderson had a 2.79 ERA in 42 innings with Indianapolis this year, along with an 8.1 K/9 and a 2.1 BB/9 ratio. He saw his fastball velocity come back in recent years, sitting 90-93 MPH, along with a good curveball. However, he didn’t have success in the rotation and doesn’t have dominating stuff out of the bullpen. He could make the majors as a decent middle reliever, but the Pirates have so much depth in the bullpen that it wouldn’t hurt them if that happened. They’d get more upside if Canzler could hit lefties in the majors.