The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed pitcher Johnny Barbato from the New York Yankees for cash considerations. Barbato was optioned to Indianapolis, and no corresponding 40-man roster move was needed, due to the Pirates having three open spots.

Barbato pitched briefly with the Yankees last year, making 13 appearances with some poor results. He had a 7.62 ERA, although his 3.74 xFIP was much better. He got a lot of strikeouts, with a 10.4 K/9, but struggled with the long ball, due to a 20% HR/FB ratio. He also dealt with some control problems.

During his time in the minors, Barbato has been a strikeout pitcher, averaging over a batter an inning at almost every stage of his career. He’s had some control issues in the upper levels, but hasn’t dealt with severe home run problems.

One encouraging sign was his velocity, averaging 94.6 MPH in the majors last year, and reaching as high as 96. The fastball has sinking action, and has led to some decent ground ball rates in the past. His strikeout pitch is an upper 70s curve that has a lot of break.

Barbato can be optioned back and forth from the minors this year, and has one more option year remaining after this season. He should provide another hard throwing depth option for the bullpen. If he is outrighted off the 40-man roster at any point this year, he will be eligible for minor league free agency at the end of the season. The Pirates still have two open spots remaining, so they won’t be needing his roster spot any time soon.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. We just don’t teach Geography and History anymore. Lithuania was part of the old Soviet Union, not Russia. Lithuanians hated the Soviet empire, particularly the Russians who ran it.

  2. I had a history teacher from Lithuania and they really really really do not like the Ruskies. My wife is half polish and she really really really does not like the Ruskies, also she really dislikes the Germans.

  3. Calling a Lithuanian a Russian is like calling a Penguin fan a Flyer fan—-doesn’t go over too well. They are centuries old enemies.

  4. Don’t we already have 2 to 3 very viable bullpen options in Indy? Replace Bastardo with Santana or the Russian….call it a day.

    • Lithuanian. Dovydas Neverauskas is from Lithuania. Not be stringent on this but I just like saying we have a dude from a more obscure country.

        • a very good joke could have been had here if Dovydas had been born in the 80’s. Then he would have been Russian back then, at least for a short time

          • Half Lithuanian here… Russkis have been at the border for months. LIts on high alert.

            Anyway, while I’d love Neveraskus and Gift to make it up for the simple purpose of building fan bases in those countries, I’m not real high on Dovydas. Although I’d be happy to exchange Gosselin for Gift.

            • So would I. Gosselin’s defense is uninspired.

              In fact more than half of the Bucs losses can be chalked up to defensive miscues. Let’s bring up players who bring a glove.

              The only thing Gosselin is competing for is who is released when Kang returns, him or Hansen.

          • My comment was a reference to Putin claiming part of Ukraine as Russia because of its value. But I guess I should hesitate to raise concerns about our overlord.

    • Yeah, calling a Lithuanian a Russia is pretty rude. I am from Russia, and even at the height of our propaganda we never tried to call Lithuanians Russians. Let this be a lesson for you from the Internet Peanut Gallery. Would you call a Spaniard Portugese? No.

  5. In the recent years, Yankees are like the Treasure Island for the Bucs… Catchers? Rotation? Bull-pen? They got all you need.

  6. NH: We’d like to trade for Tyler Webb. NYY GM: How about a guy named……(papers shuffling, file cabinet doors slamming, more paper shuffling)…. Johnny Bartabo? NH: deal

    • Unless things have changed the last few days, Webb was 11.57 ERA at AAA, Although I did not like it, Wade LeBlanc has been doing very well for the Pirates the past few games. Keeping Bastardo charting pitches is worth its weight in gold.

    • No, he was the cursed pirate captain in Pirates of the Caribbean.

      Wait, that was Barbosa, never mind.

  7. Looks like he had a 46.3% GB rate in AAA last year, according to MLBfarm. Not extreme, but that’s a tick above average.

    His slider also had a really good SwStr%, so that’s something.

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