Vin Mazzaro and Chris McGuiness Elect Free Agency

According to the transactions page on, pitcher Vin Mazzaro and first baseman Chris McGuiness have both elected to become free agents. McGuiness was recently dropped from the 40-man roster when the Pirates added John Holdzkom to the roster. Mazzaro has been back and forth between the Pirates and Indianapolis over the last two seasons.

McGuiness led all Pirates minor league players this year with 31 doubles. The 26-year-old was acquired over the off-season from the Texas Rangers for pitcher Miles Mikolas and he never appeared in the majors this season. McGuiness hit .264/.358/.412 in 126 games for Indianapolis.

Mazzaro made five relief appearances for the Pirates this year, giving up four runs over 10.1 innings. He was designated for assignment twice this year, once just prior to the start of the season and then again at the end of May. Each time he went unclaimed through waivers and accepted his assignment to Indianapolis.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Steve Beegle

good luck getting signed


More than likely he will get that a minor league contract and an IST Steve.


I’ll never understand why Mazzaro was always in AAA when our bullpen was struggling. Bummed to see him leave, but I can’t blame him.

dr dng

I was surprised that Mazzaro was not added to the roster after Sept 1. I guess the Pirates organization know a lot more than me. I believe he was a little better than a few we had in the bullpen, but I do not think they missed anything by not adding him. As for his future, I think he will be on someone’s mlb roster next year.


That game we lost to the reds the next to last game of the year, we might not have lost if we had another decent option in the bullpen, ie Mazzaro.

Bill Brown

We had decent options in the bullpen with Melancon and Watson against the Nationals and blew two games. Maybe if we win those, we win the division. Maybe if we win 2 more games in April we win the division. What happens if we would’ve won the division? Right now, two NL divisional winners are down 0-2 Maybe they get swept. Who knows. Just enjoy the game

dr dng

Goooooooood point.

I just have a feeling there must be something more to this. Someone in this thread identified several players who might not be as good as Mazzaro. Is there something that we do not know about?

R Edwards

Smart move Vin – for your sake, I hope you land somewhere that gives you a fair shot in a bullpen. Here, we thought it was better to experiment with Pimentel, Frieri, etc.

One could argue that the mismanagement of the bullpen personnel cost us the division title.


You don’t think that three weeks of McCutchen being sidelined had more to do with that ? If you don’t, you are in dreamland. Wow is all I can say to that ! Not using Vin Mazzarro was more important than Andrew McCutchen being out of the lineup…..


the time we didn’t have russ mattered more than when we didnt have cutch.


Get real. You are showing your stupidity.

Bill Brown

Dude you just don’t know how to contain yourself. I disagree with a lot of what he says, but you don’t have to be a prick about it. Martin has been a huge reason why the bucs are where they are. The same with Cutch. Their absences were both felt to a large degree. If we had one and not the other over the last two seasons, the odds of the pirates being a playoff team would’ve greatly diminished.

R Edwards

True, but you cannot avoid injuries. You can avoid making dumb trades (Morris giveaway) and being stubborn in trotting out guys like Frieri and costing your team games.

The front office also put Hurdle in a bind, by keeping guys like Pimentel and Gomez on the staff – even though they did not trust either to pitch with a game on the line. Mazzaro was not Bruce Sutter, but he was better than those two and Frieri.


Yeah, I am sure Hurdle, Searage and Benedict had absolutely no say in the makeup of that pitching staff. You had better take a deep breath and try to make some sense.

R Edwards

Okay, to make you happy, I will extend the blame to the front office, the manager, and the coaching staff.
– for making the idiotic Morris trade
– and for costing the team valuable games in the handling of personnel decision affecting the bullpen.


I see. Trading Bryan Morris cost the Pirates the chance to go to a World Series ? Funniest thing I have seen in a long time.

R Edwards

Reading comprehension isn’t one of your strengths, is it? I don’t think I mentioned World Series in this thread at all – but, if I did, please point that out.

However, if the Pirates kept Morris, I think they would have won the division. They only finished 2 games out, and the Pirates bullpen cost the team a lot more than 2 games this year – and Morris would have been an improvement over Frieri, Pimentel, Gomez, Wilson, etc.


Mazzaro was equal to Gomez, better than stolmy, axford, or frieri


If we wouldn’t have traded Grilli, we probably would have won the division sadly

Bill Brown

Really? So you don’t think Milwaukee or St. Louis blew some winnable games along the way? It’s easy to be a Monday morning QB. Maybe Grilli doesn’t put up those numbers here. Who knows, but the bottom line is that we should just sit back and enjoy having a winning baseball club. It’s better than two decades of ineptitude

Lukas Sutton

Yeah, if only we had Vin “im basically the same thing as Jeanmar Gomez” Mazzaro and his .4 WAR we would have gone all the way. Bullpen was not good at times, but Mazzaro wasnt the answer. 3.78 FIP in AAA doesnt warrant a ton of confidence, and neither does a 6.04 FIP in actual MLB time. He served his purpose a year ago and regressed, it happens.


When the gap is two games a lot of things can be argued to have costed you the division title.


Start of the big first base/bullpen purge, what’s next?

Lee Foo Rug Bug

Oh God no….not Vinnie and McBeer!

There goes the offseason.



All I can say is “who and who?”

Andy Prough

Mazzaro was a pretty good contributor as a middle reliever and long reliever during the 2013 playoff push.

Lee Foo Rug Bug

His fate was sealed when they kept trying other relievers.

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