BRADENTON, Fla. – Over the weekend, the Pirates designated left-handed pitching prospect Jesse Biddle for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for David Freese. Biddle was released by the Pirates, per the MLB.com transaction page. I confirmed that this is the case, and he’s currently not a member of the organization, so this isn’t a situation like Angel Sanchez where MLB.com hasn’t posted the following transaction where Biddle re-signed.
I spoke to Neal Huntington today, who said the Pirates are currently in the process of trying to re-sign Biddle. He will miss the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, and if he doesn’t sign anywhere, the Pirates are still responsible for rehabbing him as the team that released him. However, they’d prefer to get him back in the system officially.
We have seen multiple times this off-season where the Pirates have released a player, only to re-sign him days later. In the cases of Casey Sadler and Sanchez, they are also both out for the season due to Tommy John surgery. Each one re-signed on a minor league deal. The moves came with a salary increase, and were aimed to show goodwill, in hopes that the player would sign with the team after the season when he was healthy again. Getting a player in the system under a minor league deal also allows them to add the player to the 40-man roster at the end of the year, before he’s eligible for free agency.
This situation also happened with Guido Knudson, who cleared waivers and was released in early January and re-signed shortly after to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite. The Pirates are attempting to bring back the 24-year-old Biddle under the same circumstances, so he can continue his rehab in the system, while preparing for the 2017 season, which they hope will still be in their system.
John Dreker contributed to this report.