The Pirates have agreed to terms on minor league contracts with pitchers Brian Burres, Neal Cotts and Tyler Yates. All will be invited to spring training.
Yates is a familiar face. He has been mostly mediocre in his career, but he was extra terrible last season before going down with Tommy John surgery. This is his second experience with the surgery, which does not give much reason for optimism. He would represent solid Triple-A bullpen depth, but the Pirates really like him for some reason, so I am sure he will find his way back to Pittsburgh.
Cotts is essentially a carbon copy of Yates, performance-wise. Decent strikeout rates with a lot of walks, Cotts also succumbed to Tommy John last season. Both Yates and Cotts will be out until at least mid-season.
Burres has bounced between Triple-A and the big leagues for the past several years. He has posted some decent minor league numbers, but has struggled at the major league level. His stuff is mediocre at best. He is a decent addition, strictly as Triple-A depth.
As is the case with most non-roster invites, none of these guys really belong in the major leagues.
Dejan also adds this note in the same post:
UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: The Pirates’ total number of non-roster invitees is up to 16, as the team added several names without a formal announcement.
In addition to the three above, the list has pitchers Jimmy Barthmaier, Vinnie Chulk, Craig Hansen, Jeff Karstens, Wil Ledezma, Jean Machi, Jeremy Powell, Jack Taschner, Justin Thomas and Virgil Vasquez; catchers Tony Sanchez and Erik Kratz; and outfielder Jonathan Van Every.
I was pleased to see Barthmaier’s name included. He was a decent prospect before undergoing elbow surgery and being subsequently released last season. As a 24 year old in 2008, he posted FIPs of 3.74 in 10 Double-A starts and 3.40 in 16 Triple-A starts. He turns 26 on Wednesday and is coming off a major arm injury, but he is definitely worth a flyer.
Van Every is also an intriguing option. He has posted some decent minor league numbers, albeit with a very high strikeout rate, and he can also play a competent center field. He is clearly Triple-A depth at his age, but he could probably hold his own in Pittsburgh in an emergency.