The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 32-year-old right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler to a minor league deal according to a team press release. He is currently rehabbing from a late July shoulder surgery and will not be ready for the beginning of the season. His possible return date is unknown at this time, but he is not expected back early in the year.
Koehler at one time was a dependable starter for the Miami Marlins, posting four straight solid seasons from 2013 until 2016. He threw at least 143 innings each season and had an ERA between 3.81 and 4.41 during that time. In 2017, his stats took a big hit, as he put up a 7.92 ERA, a 6.91 FIP and a 1.73 WHIP in 12 starts, before he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched well in relief after the deal, albeit in a small sample size.
Koehler signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent for the 2018 season. He injured his shoulder early in Spring Training and didn’t resume throwing until two months later. After a few setbacks, he finally had season-ending surgery in late July.
This could be a signing more geared towards 2020, where the Pirates will take over his current rehab, then if all goes well, try to re-sign him for next season. He is 20 days short of reaching Major League free agency, so adding him to the 40-man roster late in the year or after the season would keep him around.
UPDATE: It turns out that 2020 was part of the deal….
#Pirates agreement with free-agent pitcher Tom Koehler includes a club option for 2020, sources tell The Athletic.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 7, 2019