The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the signing of two minor league free agents, right-handed pitcher Cody Eppley and catcher Nevin Ashley. Both were signed to minor league contracts and received non-roster invitations to Spring Training.
Cody Eppley is 28 years old, 6’5″ righty with major league experience each of the last three years. He fits the Pirates mold of ground ball pitchers, posting a GO/AO ratio above 2.50 in each of his last five seasons in pro ball. He is strictly a reliever, making every appearance as a pro out of the bullpen. Eppley was a 43rd round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 2008 out of VCU, so he really defied the odds of making it to the pros.
In 71 big league appearances, he has a 4.61 ERA in 56.2 innings, with 39 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP. This past season for the New York Yankees, he gave up four runs over 1.2 innings in two appearances. In the minors, Eppley has posted a career 10.0 SO/9 rate in 276.2 innings.
Nevin Ashley has spent his entire eight year pro career in the minors. The 29-year-old backstop was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays back in 2006 and was a member of the Rays organization through the 2012 season. He spent this past year playing at Louisville, the Cincinnati Reds AAA affiliate, where he had a .235/.328/.374 line in 80 games.
Ashley was twice named the best defensive catcher in the Rays system by Baseball America. He will likely provide depth at AAA, taking the spot of Lucas May and Ali Solis, who are no longer with the organization.