The Pittsburgh Pirates announced the signing of 1B/OF Jake Goebbert on Wednesday morning. He is a 28-year-old lefty/lefty, who spent the 2015 season in AAA with the San Diego Padres, where he hit .294/.392/.452 in 122 games, though it should be noted that it is a high-offense league and park in El Paso. Goebbert played 51 games for the Padres in 2014, which is his only Major League experience to date. He posted a .630 OPS in 115 plate appearances. He was added to the 40-man roster, which now has one empty spot.
Goebbert was a 2009 draft pick of the Houston Astros, taken in the 13th round. He has spent at least part of each of the last five seasons in AAA, posting a career .283/.370/.452 slash line in 783 games over seven minor league seasons. He hit a career high 22 homers in 2013, though he spent most of that season in AA as a 25-year-old.
The decision to add him to the 40-man roster seems like an odd one, especially since he was a minor league free agent. He’s old for a AAA player and has very limited MLB experience. He has been part of two trades, starting with the Astros, before going to the A’s, who traded him to the Padres during the 2014 season. Despite that, Goebbert was never a highly rated prospect. He has a good arm, but no speed and the power is average. Most of his time on defense has been spent in left field or right field. He’s played sparingly at first base and doesn’t have the range/speed to play center field.
It looks like he has three options remaining, so that gives them some flexibility that they don’t have with other position players on the 40-man roster, such as Jaff Decker, Pedro Florimon and Tony Sanchez.