The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a minor trade, sending right-handed reliever Collin Balester to the Cincinnati Reds, per an Indianapolis press release. No word on the return for the deal, but it’s almost certainly cash considerations. This was a move that was made due to a lack of a roster space. The Pirates have recently promoted Yhonathan Barrios and Angel Sanchez to Indianapolis, with the Sanchez addition being made official today. That led to a lack of roster space, and Balester was the odd man out.
Balester has been in the organization for parts of two seasons. He signed as a minor league free agent in 2014, coming off Tommy John surgery. He spent most of the year rehabbing from the surgery, then signed again with the Pirates for the 2015 season, getting a look in Major League Spring Training. He was eventually assigned to the minors and went to Altoona, where he opened the year as the closer, posting a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 innings, with a 14:6 K/BB ratio. Balester had a 3.07 ERA in 14.2 innings with Indianapolis, with an 8:5 K/BB ratio.
There was very little chance that the Pirates would have used Balester in the majors this year, since he would be behind John Holdzkom, Blake Wood, and some of the other successful Indianapolis relievers. This move seems like the usual move where you trade a guy you won’t use to a place where he could get a better opportunity at the big leagues. Balester has been initially assigned to Triple-A Louisville.