The Pirates have designated Jerry Sands for assignment. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Pirates Designate Jerry Sands and Ryan Reid For Assignment

The Pirates have designated Jerry Sands for assignment. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pirates have designated Jerry Sands for assignment. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made the signings of Edinson Volquez and Clint Barmes official. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Pirates have designated Jerry Sands and Ryan Reid for assignment.

Sands isn’t a surprise, since he was out of options and didn’t fit into the Pirates plans as a top choice for the right field position. He had horrible numbers in Triple-A last year, along with some injury problems. If he clears waivers, the Pirates can keep him in the minors for one more year, hoping he rebounds to his pre-2013 numbers.

Reid is a bit of a surprise since he had options remaining and had some success as a depth option for the Pirates in 2013. He’s got enough time in the minors that he could opt for free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A. Even though he did have success with the Pirates, he would have only been a depth option in 2014, and probably wouldn’t have been ahead of the other guys on the 40-man roster.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • LongJohnSilver

    I understand Sands (was always hoping he would have woke up last year, but didn’t) but I don’t understand the Reid move.

    Then again, I am getting totally confused by most of what the Pirate’s are doing this year. I keep trying to see the glass is half full, but it seems like its more like a quarter full and leaking…..

    • Tim Williams

      I had Reid as a candidate to be DFAd at the start of the off-season. He’s a guy who can pitch in the majors, but he’s never going to be a player who spends an entire season in the bullpen. There’s no need to take up a roster spot for him when they can get a similar player on an NRI.

      Currently they will have Jared Hughes, Duke Welker, and Miles Mikolas as right-handed relief options out of Triple-A. Those are just the guys on the 40-man. That doesn’t include the minor league free agents they’ve added. The latter group profiles more like Reid.

      • emjayinTN

        Tim: I hope Jared Hughes comes out of his 2013 funk, but the Pirates have started to build a RH Closer group by re-acquiring Duke Welker, and Miles Mikolas averages 94 and throws a lot of GB’s. He had 26 Saves in AAA last year to bring him to 67 minor league Saves. I know we have Grilli and Melancon, but it never hurts to have depth.

        On the other issue of 1B – would a Jose Tabata for Mitch Moreland be a fair exchange?

  • Jack Reddick

    Was there a worse starter in MLB the past two years then Edison Volquez?

    • Stephen Brooks


    • chenzt

      Jonathan Sanchez

    • Frank Restly

      Really had to dig deep (Sabermetric pitching stats) for this one. In the National League there were none worse. Volquez had the highest ERA (minimum 100 innings) at 5.71 and the highest WHIP (1.59).

      In terms of defense adjusted ERA, Volquez was the fourth worst behind Ian Kennedy, Bronson Arroyo, and Wily Peralta. Why is this important? Because Jeff Locke was 6th worst at 4.17.

      Jeff Locke / Edison Volquez were at opposite ends of the “luck” spectrum. Jeff finished the season with a .265 batting average for balls in play, Volquez finished the season with a .320 batting average for balls in play.

      Going back to 2012, in terms of defense independent ERA, Arroyo finished 12th worst, Kennedy 17th worst, Volquez 14th worst. Peralta was a rookie in 2012 and did not pitch a full season.

      • Scott Skink

        And while Jonathan Sanchez pitched one less year than Volquez, he amassed a higher career WAR and outperformed Volquez is numerous traditional and peripheral metrics.

  • LloydBeFree


    Lloyd thinks it’s not just a matter of the Buccos and Mr Searage fixing Edinson but rather that his peripherals favor what they work best with and that his catchers and D will also make as much difference.

    He’s an extreme ground ball pitcher so PetCo probably made little difference as a “pitchers park” for him. Lloyd’s guess is that the Padres infield D wasn’t very good, catchers weren’t as good as Marteen and Stewey and that the Pads aren’t very into shifts.

    We cannot expect a Papa Frankie tournaround but for $5 mils, hell yeah on the signing, he may be a great #4 starter.

    Thank You,


    • emjayinTN

      Lloyd: Did not like the signing only because I think the Pirates have 3 good young pitchers who showed last season that they can be excellent #4 or #5 SP’s. Regardless, EVol is a wise selection. He has started 32 games the past 2 years and a close look at the stats indicates that he became a much better pitcher when he was dropped by the Padres and picked up by the Dodgers for their stretch run. He started 27 games for the Padres and went 9-10, 6.01. After the drive up the coast he made 5 starts for the Dodgers (all in September) and was 0-2, 4.18 ERA, and his peripherals became much better also – K/W from 116/69 to 26/8; H/9 from 10.6 down to 8.0; K/9 from 7.3 up to 8.4; and W/9 from 4.4 down to 2.6. In his 32 starts in 2013, I think he received 2 runs or less support in 14 of those starts.

      • Stephen Brooks

        The ability to eat innings can’t be overlooked. Wandy and Locke are not strong bets to pitch into the 7th, and it’s unlikely that the bullpen will be as dominant as it was last year if it has to throw as many innings as it did in ’13. Unlike a lot of pitchers – especially young starters – his OPS against doesn’t jump too significantly the second and third times through the lineup.

        The BB rate could be reduced by slight mechanical adjustments and pitch framing; increased reliance on the two seamer generates more ground balls into the teeth of defensive shifts; Volquez already comes with a plus K rate; all that’s left is managing the long ball, which should regress. His ISO allowed jumped a bunch with runners on, which could suggest a correctable mechanical flaw, or just unlucky sequencing.

        It’s not like the guy has never been successful. If he can deliver something in between his 2012 and 2008 seasons, that’s a useful arm for any rotation.

    • Frank Restly


      The Pirates may want him to become an extreme ground ball pitcher but his numbers from previous years don’t indicate that he was:

      Ground Ball / Fly Ball Ratio
      2013: 0.96
      2012: 1.10
      2011: 1.19

      2008: 0.91 (His big season – 3.21 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, Defense Independent ERA of 3.59, 17 Wins and 6 Losses)

      For contrast Burnett in his two seasons with the Pirates had the following ground ball / fly ball ratios:
      2013: 1.43
      2012: 1.40
      2011 (Yankees): 1.04

  • Y2JGQ2

    Due to his pitch count because of wildness, Edison is less likely to pitch into the 7th than Wandy with one arm or Locke the second half of the year

    • japple2298

      The Pirates will not score alot of runs, so having a pitcher like this will be a horrible move. Should have spent the 5 mil on a hitter. Compton would do fine as a number 5 starter.

      • piraddict

        I agree with the Compton comment. Don’t understand NH’s reluctance to trust the young guys. Compton’s MLB stats outperformed his AAA stats. But that could mean several things. On the pessimistic side maybe he’s easy to figure out. On the optimistic side some people perform better when they are on the big stage. I like that about athletes when it’s true.

    • Stephen Brooks

      Except that’s not true, at least as it applies to Locke. Volquez historically pitches into the 7th with greater frequency than Locke did last year in his breakout, in spite of his high walk rates. Don’t forget, Locke puts up some heavy pitch counts on his own – he’s the reincarnation of Doug Davis. The difference is Locke rarely tops 100 pitches in a start, whole Volquez gets into the 110 range. Not just a Dusty Baker effect, either – he was pitching into the 7th in half his starts in San Diego in ’12. Volquez has a better build to go deep into games – he has 30 lbs on Locke, better stamina, strong lower half (I didn’t make this up, there are scouting reports that back it up).

      With Wandy, it’s more of a guess as to how much CH and RS will baby him with the arthritic condition and/or how many starts at max effort he can give.

      The Bucs didn’t sign Volquez to reprise his 2013 season, they signed him believing they could get him to somewhere between his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. I’m certainly inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt that they can pull it off.

  • LloydBeFree

    Mr. Restly,

    Lloyd may have overstated that Edinson is an “extreme” ground ball pitcher but his ground ball rate has been above league average for the past 3 seasons.

    And Japple, Lloyd loves Cumpton as a depth rotation guy and thinks he has a chance as a #5 starter moving forward………but for $5 mil, LLOYD likes what he has heard and read about Edinson’s “stuff” and is excited at what Coach Searage, RussellM, shifts and Liriano (and hopefully Burnett) can do with it.

    Thank You,


  • Brian Bernard

    As much as I enjoyed watching AJ pitch the past two years, I’m fine moving on without him if he chooses to not come back. Frankly I’d much rather see Taillon than him in the rotation which is the most likely to happen.

    As far as first base, I’m on an island I know, but I’m actually in favor of NOT signing a guy but the reason I’d be fine with this is because I like Gaby as a full time guy. I’m not against Lambo filling in against some righties here and there, but I think Gaby is a guy who is still in the right age bracket to perform well. I see him getting 400+ AB’s and being a .260-.270 guy with double digit HR’s and (like Loney) an excellent defender. The way I see it that’s about what Loney would have provided so all this fuss is no big deal to me.

    The key to this year isn’t 1b or RF. I’m not worried about either.

    The key IMO is significant steps forward by Walker and Marte, and the introduction of Polanco and Taillon. Those are the additions that are going to matter.

    • piraddict

      Not quite as sanguine about Gaby hitting RHP as you are Brian, but otherwise I fully agree with your post. In addition to improvements from Walker and Marte I think that Pedro, Mercer and even Cutch could easily improve upon their 2013 production next year. Should be fun to watch!

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