According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed minor league catcher Nate Irving, who was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks in October. The 23-year-old was a 34th round pick in 2014 and spent two seasons in short-season A-ball. In 2015, he hit 276/.378/.316 in 24 games. During his two seasons of pro ball, he is just 3-for-21 in throwing out runners. At his age and experience, his likely role will be a backup at any of the lower level teams, possibly going wherever he is needed.

During this time of year, we should hear about the Pirates signing a few more catchers similar to Irving. Teams need extra catchers during Spring Training and some of them will be gone before the season even starts. The Pirates were short a few catchers from the end of the season with Wilkin Castillo, Sebastian Valle and Francisco Diaz signing elsewhere, plus Kawika Emsley-Pai retiring. They also released Tony Sanchez last week. They have only signed one minor league free agent catcher this off-season, so you’ll likely hear about 2-3 more catchers besides Irving being signed before Spring Training starts.

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25 COMMENTS

    • He was released last week, but this move has nothing to do with that. Irving will be somewhere from Bristol to Bradenton as a backup

  1. I wonder what motivates a guy like Nate Irving. He’s got virtually no chance at making the Majors, and being a minor leaguer doesn’t pay enough to be worth it financially, and having a second job has to be brutally difficult during the season with all the traveling. Guys like this must really love the game.

    • Or don’t know anything *but* the game…

      I can remember seeing guys I played ball with in high school who were much better served learning a trade or joining the military latching on with crappy D-III colleges that would “give them money” to play. None ended up with anything more than a few semester’s worth of debt before moving on with their lives, but playing ball defined them all through school and they just couldn’t give it up until somebody made them.

      • You can’t blame these guys who play as long as they possibly can……..they have the rest of their life to work. Good for them and they usually make the best coaches later on….they understand how hard it is to play this game.

        • I cant “blame them” for anything, but i can feel bad for them for voluntarily losing that time of earning potential. If you go into depth to play in college, and compound that by playing for 0 savings money after college, you’ve really dented yourself in terms of money.

          Good for doing what ya love, but you also gotta be smart about what ya love.

          • Your early 20’s is not much earning potential- I know plenty of people with masters degrees that are waiting tables for years trying to find a job, no difference really

            • Lol. That guys in his early 20s. Meaning he thinks he knows everything but knows very little.

              Me? They have to physically remove me from getting paid to play baseball, even if it was for nickels.

            • Not much isnt nothing. Those guys can still be making 25K+ per year and not paying 0 of their debt while interest keeps accumulating.

              While i dont “blame” them, it is a financially stupid move to stick with baseball for many young guys if it means taking on college debt+eeking out 1-3 years after college of independent/A ball life. As i made entry level crap salary, i was still at least able to pay off a tiny amount of my debt from college.

              • *smh* okay Luke….I forgot life is about paying off debt and making a few K more per year at a job you hate vs. playing baseball.

                • Nothing purposefully black and white about that.

                  There is, in life, a grey area where you can do something you are passionate about and not ignore your debt+make little to no money to save. I tell the kids i deal with on a regular basis to chase those dreams and aim high, but i wont tell an 18 year old to keep playing baseball no matter what. Life isnt about paying off debt, but you do have to be smart about which passion to pursue.

                  No person should feel they only have 1 thing they can do and enjoy over the ages of 18-25. Which is why any player should take education seriously while playing so once they are 23 and considering playing for nothing they can go “or i can do x that i really enjoy as well”. If a guy wants to play ball all his 20s, power to him. But he absolutely loses a chunk of earning potential while likely deferring his debt as long as loans allow him.

                  • This is why baseball is only 5-6 months out of the year for your average low A player. Plenty of time to do something else the rest of the year. I just disagree with how you view life, not the facts that you present. To each his own.

    • Darkstone- if you ask that, then you truly don’t understand the magic of baseball. I don’t mean that in a snarky way, but for baseball players, it isn’t about being rich, it’s about playing baseball. Yeah, it doesn’t pay the bills, but you ARE being paid to play baseball. If someone even gave me $20 a game, I’d play until I just couldn’t possibly physically throw a ball anymore. Once you retire, where do you play? Well a rec league, against inferior competition- for free. The choice is easy, as long as someone is willing to pay you to play, you play.

      • It’s not an easy choice. It can’t be. Conceding yourself to a life of $6000/year or whatever because you don’t have the time to be a professional baseball player and hold a job to pay the bills at the same time, you’re not being paid to play baseball, you’re paying to play baseball, and you’re paying a lot. Yes, baseball gives you pay checks, but it’s at the expense of having a job with a living wage, so you’re basically paying $10-15 thousand per year to play. That goes beyond love of the game and the “magic of baseball.”

        • You think these A ball guys don’t work elsewhere during the off-season? They all do- all. Keep in mind you don’t have rent due for the duration of the season, housing costs are zero. I would flat out quit by 6 figure job right now to play a season of pro ball- of course I still have the skills to go back and continue doing what i’m doing later…….but these kids aren’t missing out on a 50K plus year salary out of highschool. what they make is still pretty similar to what they probably made (or more) than a high school job, but instead of flipping burgers or bussing tables, they are playing baseball. It’s okay if life starts at 21 or 22- maybe they go back to college at that point, so what?

  2. Who was ” that guy ” last Winter that kept telling me that Sebastian Valle was actually going to replace Cervelli quickly last season ?

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