The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 28-year-old free agent catcher Steven Baron to a minor league deal.
Baron played briefly for the St Louis Cardinals this year, getting into two games in May. His only other previous MLB experience was a September call-up by the Seattle Mariners in 2015. Baron hit .213/.262/.250 in 41 games at Triple-A this past year. In his minor league career, he has a .234/.293/.334 slash line in a lucky 666 games.
He is considered an above average defensive catcher with a strong arm. He was a first round pick in 2009, based mostly on the fact he already displayed premium defense. During his ten seasons in the minors, he has thrown out 43% of runners.
We have mentioned often that the Pirates are short on catchers right now. They had three upper level catchers leave the system since the end of the year, losing Ryan Lavarnway, Jin-De Jhang and Jackson Williams to free agency. They also released a few lower level catchers in November and then lost Rafelin Lorenzo in the Rule 5 draft. So you can expect more catching depth to be added. The Pirates embrace strong defensive catchers in the minors, who can work well with their pitchers, so Baron will fit right in and should serve as depth at Indianapolis.