The Detroit Tigers claimed right-handed pitcher Johnny Barbato from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon. Barbato was designated for assignment last Thursday when the Pirates claimed right-handed pitcher Shane Carle from the Colorado Rockies.
The Pirates acquired Barbato from the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league reliever Matt Frawley back in April of last year. The 25-year-old Barbato made 24 appearances for the Pirates in 2017, posting a 4.08 ERA, a 5.46 FIP and a 1.50 WHIP, with 23 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. He pitched briefly for the Yankees in 2016, making 13 appearances.
While the hope was that Barbato would clear waivers so he could be sent outright to Indianapolis as bullpen depth, the Pirates appear to have an abundance of pitching options for Indianapolis already. That could cause some pitchers who appear ready for Triple-A to be held back at Altoona to begin the 2018 season. Barbato isn’t a big loss, although he does appear to be a slightly better middle relief depth option than Carle, who has the advantage of having two options left, compared to one for Barbato.