The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that right-handed pitcher A.J. Schugel has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Indianapolis. Schugel was designated for assignment earlier this week when the team acquired left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle. He was previously acquired off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners last month. That move saw Yoervis Medina designated for assignment, then outrighted, then traded for Biddle. So, in the end, the Pirates basically just swapped out Medina for Biddle.
Schugel will receive an invite to Spring Training, but he seems unlikely to make the big league club out of camp. When he was acquired, I wrote that he seems like a guy who would fare better with a switch to the bullpen. It wouldn’t make sense to have him in the rotation in Indianapolis, since he’d be blocking a much better prospect (any of the Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, Trevor Williams group) and wouldn’t be a guy you’d want as early season rotation depth. But having him in the bullpen would make sense, especially if that led to his fastball playing up.
This is a continuation of the revolving door that is the 40th spot on the 40-man roster this off-season. The Pirates have claimed or acquired a lot of guys in small deals, only to try and sneak them through waivers later in the off-season. So far, it has led to Schugel, Guido Knudson, and Jorge Rondon in Triple-A, and Medina would be on the list as well if he hadn’t been traded. Those are all hard throwers, good for bullpen depth with the hope that one of them figures it all out. If they don’t, the Pirates paid almost nothing to get them.