According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates have signed left-handed reliever Doug Slaten to a minor league contract. Terms are not available yet, but it’s likely that Slaten will receive a non-roster invitation to spring training. Slaten, 31, was a 17th round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000 and pitched all or parts of four seasons with them before being chosen off waivers by the Washington Nationals after the 2009 season. He spent 2010 with the Nationals, but missed part of 2011 due to elbow surgery, although he was able to return late in the season. He appeared in 31 games with a 4.41 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched, allowing a .356 opponents’ batting average. He also appeared in nine games during a minor league rehab stint. The Nationals non-tendered him in the off-season. He could compete with Tony Watson, Dan Moskos and possibly Jo-Jo Reyes for one or two left-handed bullpen spots with the Pirates.
Slaten’s best season was 2010, when he had a 3.10 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), and fanned 36 in 40.2 innings. He’s generally been used as a left-handed specialist, pitching only 137.2 innings in 206 major league games, all in relief. He’s had good success against left-handed batters, holding them to a .666 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Right-handed batters have hit him hard, with an .864 OPS. According to Fangraphs, Slaten’s fastball averages about 90 mph. He throws a slider about thirty percent of the time, and also throws a changeup. For his career he’s gone 7-8 with no saves, a 3.60 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. His stats are available here.
UPDATE: MLB.com is reporting that Slaten will receive a non-roster invitation to spring training.