Pirates Release Allen Webster

The Pittsburgh Pirates have released right-handed pitcher Allen Webster, according to the MLB.com transaction page. They had acquired Webster at the end of last month from the Diamondbacks, in exchange for cash considerations.

This move is a surprise, as they didn’t need a spot on the 40-man roster, even after tonight’s addition of Jason Rogers. The Rogers move cleared Keon Broxton, and that combined with the Webster move (which happened Wednesday, according to the transactions), leaves the 40-man at 38.

Webster seemed like a good project, with a fastball that touched the upper 90s, and the long-term potential to still end up a starting pitcher in the majors. He was out of options, which means if he didn’t make the roster, they’d have to put him through waivers. Considering he didn’t cost more than cash considerations, I think he might have had a shot at clearing waivers.

I’m not 100% on this, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just release someone. They would have to go through release waivers, giving each team a chance to claim the player. So the fact that Webster was released shows that no team wanted to claim him. And the Pirates could have put him on outright waivers, sending him to the minors and keeping him in Triple-A, with Webster lacking the service time to decline that move.

It seems there’s something else going on here. When this type of move happens, it either means the team is trying to sign a player back to a minor league deal (while keeping the player happy in avoiding the outright scenario), or the more common scenario is that the player is being released to pursue playing in a foreign country. This actually happened last year with Josh Lindblom, who the Pirates claimed off waivers, then waived a released a few days later when he decided to play in the KBO.

No word yet on why the Pirates released Webster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s looking to play in another country. There are some benefits there. Lindblom received $850,000 and a $50,000 signing bonus last year, which was guaranteed. If he would have stayed in Pittsburgh, he would have received a shot at maybe making a little over $500,000 if he made the team. And that seemed unlikely. Like I said, I don’t know if this is the case with Webster, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s why he was released.

Update 10:45 am: Looks like he is headed to the KBO in Korea.

https://twitter.com/sung_minkim/status/677861753854648321

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Chris M

Ryan vogelsong! I have no words

scrappy2499

very shrewd indeed. The pirates send him over to the KBO to pitch. He then can send back quality scouting reports on the hitters worth tracking. He wasn’t really released just a front.

Arik Florimonte

It just showed up on MLB trade rumors… With Tim credited as the source. Nice!

joe s

Careers are short and he has to go where the money is the most for him. I wish him luck and hope he pays the Pirates the money they spent to acquire him.

terrygordon30

I am guessing that the Pirates will either resign him to a minor league contract and/or a transaction or two is in the works.

Bill W

I wonder after his stint in the KBL he comes back here? Also could this be a quid pro quo for a future KBL back this way?

Mike Shutlock

This off-season just keeps getting stranger. I sure hope there is a method to their madness.

ArthurDayne

That’s crazy. If what Tim speculates is true, I’d love to hear that conversation. ” Can you release me, I can make more in Asia.” While you gave up cash to get him.

Maybe another battle in the CBA.

Meanwhile, Nutting prays for a temperature drop.

NMR

It was a good theory from Tim, but how does that specifically make any sense for Webster?

We’re talking about a 25 year old with three big league quality pitches two years removed from being a Top 100 prospect in the game who just got the opportunity to work with a picthing coach/system who has made pitchers upwards of a hundred million bucks. One marginal bounceback season with the Pirates and Webster can equal in one season what he’d make overseas in five.

freddylang

I don’t know, seemed like Webster couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than had with Searage and the Pirates. Maybe his chances to crack the pen weren’t as good as we all thought.

NMR

Certainly, just a shocking lack of confidence, IMO.

bucsws2014

Bird in the hand. Webster has a possibility of making major league minimum this year, although probably only a pro-rated portion. He’s guaranteed $850,000 in Korea.

I can’t blame the guy for taking the sure money.

ArthurDayne

But you don’t know what he’s financial situation is right now. He could be about to lose a house, family illness, etc.

Besides, with more guys coming over here to make money taking their jobs, those leagues have spots to fill. And they pay more than riding a bus passed Leo Walters lawn.

NMR

Wow.

ArthurDayne

World economy now, Bub. Pretty soon Trump Hidden Valley, built with Chinese steel.

Andrew

Where has my country gone….

ArthurDayne

Asia, along with affordable pitching reclamations it appears.

Luke S

It appears the story is now being leaked bit by bit that he is indeed going to Asia.

Best of luck to him, does suck that he didnt see staying over here in whatever role we had for him as better than that. But money be money, assuming he’s getting a few million.

Jared

That’s crazy. He had a real shot to show some improvement, pitch out of the pen in the majors, and get back on track…and he goes to Asia? Very interesting….

Luke S

It is weird, but i suppose its possible he is dead set on starting and likes the idea of bigger money+starting to rebuild his rep. Seems like a bad gamble but to each their own.

Stephen Brooks

The same gamble got Radhames Liz a MLB contract at a higher salary than he’d ever earned before stateside, so there is that.

NMR

“Neal Huntington’s crying poor notwithstanding, the Pirates need to wade into the starting pitching market and flash some cash right now, before their good options dry up. If Pittsburgh, a revenue-sharing receiver with three straight playoff berths to juice fans, can’t afford to make a modest upgrade in their rotation as a response to the loss of the retired A.J. Burnett, they’re thoroughly doomed in the NL Central. The powerhouses of the division are too rich, too deep, and too smart to be beaten without opening a checkbook.

Ideally, the Pirates might also upgrade on the infield, but if they could afford to do so, they probably would have kept Neil Walker, and so, they wouldn’t need to. It seems they need to triage their weaknesses and address only the most critical. Right now, that most glaring breach is the fact that Jon Niese is their third starter. They have no chance to catch up to the Cubs, but they can ensure that the Clint Hurdle Invitational ($1, Joe Sheehan) survives for another year if they get real and pay up for Kazmir or Leake.”

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=28086

joel

You may be right about ending up third but today John Smoltz and Ron Darling disagreed with you on MLB. They liked him and he knows how to pitch, their words.

bucsws2014

I think I coined “Pittsburgh Invitational” before Joe Sheehan. I’d like that dollar.

Jared

I think there are a couple options I like: Kelly Johnson (left handed bat who can play multiple positions and can hit for some power). Scott Kazmir (another lefty, but a definite rotation upgrade). And Justin Masterson as a bounce-back candidate for the back of the rotation

NMR

They should go full-on heel. Sign Latos, trade for Papelbon. Hell, why not kick the tires on Chapman.

Stephen Brooks

LOL the new market inefficiency: bad character guys.

NMR

Betcha AJ Pierzinski could be had.

Stephen Brooks

Is Elijah Dukes still in the league?

wtm1613

Just like the Mets had “no chance to catch up to the” Nationals last season, right?

NMR

Yeah, I totally feel better knowing all that needs to happen is massive, team-wide under performance and a hapless first-year Manager in order to overtake the Cubs.

Jared

And to have a whole rotation of starters come up from AAA and pitch like aces.

piraddict

Tim, your foreign signing scenario sounds good for Webster, but how is it good for the Pirates given that they are out of their cash considerations?

piraddict

Ah! Thanks.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

well, so much for that brilliant idea of resurrecting his career….scratch him off the list of potential starters next year…

Chris Z

I picture Bob Nutting in his lodge at Seven Springs, his minions coming in, saying Mr. N we won’t save any money if we release him… And him giving a death stare and yelling rhetorically Do YOU want to be fired Too! SOMEONE Has to be Responsible For this G-Damn Weather…

dr dng

No, new lodge is at Hidden Valley.

rburgh

Does this make a Morse for Moreland trade a hot possibility? The Rangers were chasing Napoli, but he signed with Cleveland.

Jared

No. I would think this deal concludes our offseason moves at 1B

NMR

My goodness…what a mess.

Jared

NMR, I mean what the hell? They offer Kim a contract while, you would have to assume, they were in negotiations for Rodgers…but valued Rodgers more (by giving up assets) than simply paying Kim a little more…and then they release maybe one of two players they actually picked up this year who have some upside. I mean Jesus…what the hell is the vision here?

terrygordon30

What does Jesus have to do with this? I take it that you were being blasphemous, or you were referring to Matty Alou’s brother.

NMR

This winter has drug Pirate fans back to 2010/2011 convincing themselves that garbage like Jason Rogers equates to “good” players with “upside” due to hoping, praying that something they do actually makes sense.

Jared

Amen. Quite honestly, we will see what happens the rest of the offseason, but NH could erode a lot of the cache he’s built with this offseason. His moves do not make any sense and certainly do not make us better…you have to at least ask the question: was there a plan at all going into the offseason?

NMR

As a guy who spent *years* defending “process” over results, I feel I’d be a hypocrite calling this winter anything but a clusterf*ck.

You don’t undermine years of quality work with one confusing, unproductive, yet far from disastrous offseason, though. Folks should never have been giving him some sort of free pass as an all-knowing GM, but just as well, folks shouldn’t jump on him to be replaced. Way, wayyyy too much of an overreaction for me.

Jared

Oh I dont think he should be fired. I do think this obliterates the whole notion that NH walks on water though. I mean this offseason has NO plan at all.

Stephen Brooks

Or the plan was tenuous and/or poorly executed.

Figure that the priorities were:
A. #3 SP to replace Burnett/Happ
B. 1B who projects to deliver something north of replacement level
C. Restock bullpen.

Even with Webster’s release, “C” isn’t shaping up too badly. Melancon, Watson, Caminero, Hughes, Nicasio, Rondon/Holdzkom + lefty TBNL feels to me like a pretty good pen. My preference is Matt Thornton.

The B objective is met…barely. I would have preferred Kim or Jaso, but whatever (and FWIW Jaso IS still out there). This you can safely say: among the options who project to deliver 1-ish WAR, Rogers is the least expensive, the one you are least likely to regret, and, being cheap, it does free up that much more cash to address the #3 SP.

So for me, setting aside all the baffling moves at the ass-end of the roster (SRod, Lambo, Decker, Webster), this offseason hinges on one thing: whether NH can bring in a legitimate #3 . Kazmir, Latos. If it’s Leake I’ll be surprised AND disappointed.

Until then, the jury is still out.

NMR

The B objective, for one, is setting the absolute lowest of bars. If that was their actual objective, shame on them. Second, with a projected offensive output barely over league average, Rogers sure as hell isn’t putting up 1 WAR at first base. Chris Carter was a 101 wRC+ hitter in 460 PA and was worth just 0.3 WAR. Mike Napoli was a 98 wRC+ hitter in 469 PA and was one of the best defenders at the position, still worth just 0.7 WAR.

The C objective has really only benefited by one move, Jaun Nicasio, now that Webster is gone. Still three slots open, and that’s *if* Huntington can’t find anyone to shed Melancon’s salary.

And A isn’t anywhere close to being met.

Awful winter thus far, and as a major Front Office supporter, I really, truly struggle to see how it could be classified as anything but that.

Stephen Brooks

How do you get 3 bullpen slots open? Melancon-Watson-Caminero-Hughes-Nicasio makes 5/7, and that’s disregarding Rondon. If they move Melancon, sure, that opens another slot, but with Walker, Pedro and Morton already shed, that’s hardly a foregone conclusion.

As for Rogers, there are strong indicators the hit tool is real – well above average exit velocity, high minor league BABIP despite an utter lack of speed, above average BB%. Steamer regressed his BABIP to league average. A 10-point bump gets you a 110 wRC+ and, with Napoli’s or Carter’s playing time, a 1 WAR.

freddylang

I was saying at least they didn’t give up any prospects this offseason but there goes Supak, who could have substantially more value in 6 months.

Jared

I will say it again…this offseason is incredibly odd. Rogers might be a decent player but why trade an asset like Supak for him (bc you’re in division rival wants a lot for a mediocre player) when you could have just spent $1M more total for the Korean. This offseason has been very strange…I don’t understand almost any of it to be honest.

bucsws2014

“Almost any” is better than where I’m at.

Jared

Webster was one of the upside players they’ve managed to pick up this offseason. This offseason just has been completely disjointed. No two moves make sense together…this team certainly isn’t better than even at the beginning of last year. Depth eroded, pitching holes both rotation and pen, and no clear starters at multiple positions. Scary.

Bill W

PP should have waited until January to send out the Prospects Guide. These moves are wrecking havoc with your top 30. I’m shaking my head with these last two moves.

Scott K

No matter what month he puts it out, a transaction is sure to make it partially outdated within a matter of weeks, if not days.

John Dreker

That is true since there is rarely a time that there isn’t some sort of transaction going on. The reason it comes out now is simple, Christmas delivery. For Bill W, the only top 30 player involved so far was Trey Supak, ranked 27th

Bill W

That was a trick response to get an early jump on the top 30. Now Heredia makes it back in!!!

John Dreker

Tim tweeted where Supak and Broxton were last night, so it was alright to mention it. We do top 50 though, not top 30. I’m fairly certain who gets bumped back into the top 50, but that information will have to wait for the books to get out and in peoples’ hands first

Randy W

I’m really bummed to see him go. The move to land him was brilliant. So, anyway…to totally change the subject…Tim, did you get to see Star Wars? What do you think? I absolutely loved it – it looked and felt like one of the original three in the series.

Randy W

I like that they gave you some of the back story while still leaving tons of mystique, just like the originals. I remember when I’d watch IV-VI, I’d wonder things like, “I wonder what the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan was like?” . Then of course years later George Lucas showed me while simultaneously defecating on my soul.

akdrake66

It’s been a long time since I saw a Star Wars movie, want to rewatch. Should I watch them by actual release date, or by episode?

Kozy21

It was fantastic. I’m seeing it again tonight.

Scott K

I agree on Star Wars movie.

Chewy, we’re home!

freddylang

I don’t know. I will just stop speculating now until opening day and see what happens. I have no idea what the plan is up to this point. Rogers’ stats look nice but you give up a pitcher you spent a million on for a guy who didn’t post 150 AB in the majors until he was 27? I don’t get it. Rogers looks like a 1.0 or so WAR player over the course of a full season. You have Mike Morse who I am pretty sure has the potential to be a 1 WAR guy. So now you have two right handed hitting and throwing 1B…I am waiting for some justification from an optimistic person out there…Ex-Pirate farmhand Clint Robinson is a better MLB player than Rogers.

LloydBeFree

Ho Ho Ho, LLOYD says that it’s most likely now that Georgee Rondon makes it in the big league pen. Ahhhhh, who cares tho really…….sumpthin goin on LLOYD thinks. Webbie was released for a reason. We shall see so soon.

Now on J-Rogers, YESSSS!!!!
Great addition as a potential big league bat a la Jay-Hay and/or GFJones.

LLOYD

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