According to Chris Cotillo, the Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed catcher Eric Fryer off waivers from the St Louis Cardinals. He hit .368/.415/.421 in 41 plate appearances over 24 games with the Cardinals this season. Fryer spent parts of the 2011-12 seasons with the Pirates. He has played a total of six seasons in the majors, though that has added up to just 89 games total over the years.
This could mean that Fryer will take the backup catcher spot of Erik Kratz, who the Pirates might be able to keep as depth assuming he clears waivers and accepts an assignment to Indianapolis. It could also mean Chris Stewart is headed to the DL. We will find out either way soon. The sample size at the plate is too small to assume Fryer will be able to hit anywhere near an .836 OPS, especially since he had a .578 OPS back in 2014 when he saw his most Major League time, and even that was only 81 plate appearances.
Fryer is a capable backup until Francisco Cervelli can return, and with the way Kratz has hit this season between Pittsburgh and Houston, it can’t hurt to try for more offense and add a catcher who is known for a strong arm as well. Fryer has thrown out four of six runners this season.
If Stewart is going on the DL to make room for Fryer, then Fryer and Kratz will likely split the catching duties since neither is considered a Major League starter. Although if Fryer hits like he did in St Louis, then he could end up seeing the bulk of time behind the plate. Either way, the Pirates catching situation looks a lot worse than it did coming into Spring Training this year.
Source: Pirates claim Eric Fryer off waivers from Cardinals.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) July 3, 2016
UPDATE 4:42 PM: The Pirates have officially announced the move. To make room on the 40-man roster, Rob Scahill has been designated for assignment. A corresponding 25-man move will take place when Fryer reports to the team.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.