The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the signings of six minor league free agents, per a team press release. The players are RHP Wilfredo Boscan, infielder Cole Figueroa, RHP Deolis Guerra, outfielder Danny Ortiz, RHP Curtis Partch, and LHP Robert Zarate. We previously heard about Ortiz and Partch, while Boscan and Guerra are returning to the organization they were a part of last year. All six received invites to Spring Training.
Figueroa has played primarily shortstop, third base, and second base in recent years, but also has the ability to play the corner outfield spots. The Pirates have plenty of prospects in Triple-A for all of those positions, but they might need a Super Utility player off the bench to replace Sean Rodriguez. Figueroa could compete for that role, and would likely fill a bench spot in Triple-A if he doesn’t get it.
Zarate mostly pitched in Triple-A last year, posting a 2.90 ERA in 40.1 innings, with a 10.9 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9. He has yet to pitch in the majors, and will be entering his age 29 season next year. He can touch 94 MPH with his fastball, and has a good slider. He should compete for a lefty relief job in the bullpen, and there could be some openings if the Pirates trade Mark Melancon and move Tony Watson to the closer’s role.
Guerra and Boscan should return to their roles as MLB bullpen depth, and Triple-A spot starting options. If Ortiz doesn’t make the majors as a fourth outfielder, he should get plenty of playing time in Triple-A. Partch should join Guerra and Boscan in the bullpen in Triple-A.