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.
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.
Just FYI, MLB trade rumors gave a shout out to Tim, presumably referencing this post, on their write up about Biddle’s release. First time I’ve seen them mention this site in one of their articles. Gaining a little more national exposure, keep up the good work.
I would hate to be the 40th man on a major league roster since it seems you get released when someone else comes along that might look slightly better then you are but it beats not being on any major league roster at all.
The 40 man roster is not positioned 1-40, but I get your thought. You know if your safe or not.
What is the advantage of releasing him?
As Tim mentioned in the article, it’s done out of goodwill. The Pirates want to keep him beyond 2016, so they hope to rework the deal to make it more favorable for Biddle. If they just sent him down, then he would get paid like an average minor leaguer, which I believe in his case would be $2400 a month due to his AAA experience. Casey Sadler, Guido Knudson and Angel Sanchez are all getting more than $2400 a month under their new deals. The advantage goes to the player, but the hope is that it entices the player to remain in the system beyond the current contract.
Excellent…he is definitely worth more than just a flyer; he is intriguing.