According to Jason Mackey of the Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Pirates are bringing back catcher Tyler Heineman on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. The 31-year-old Heineman spent most of 2022 with the Pirates, hitting .211/.277/.254 in 52 games.
Source: Pirates bringing back Tyler Heineman. Would imagine on a minor league deal.
Played 52 games in Pittsburgh last year, hitting .211 with a .531 OPS. Makes sense if he or Jason Delay winds up as the other half of Perez/Barnhart/whomever, serving as bridge to Davis/Endy.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) December 12, 2022
Heineman has a .214/.279/.276 slash line over 82 games in three partial seasons in the majors. While that slash line had him at a -0.1 WAR on offense, his 0.6 dWAR had him slightly above average overall. He went 11-for-34 in throwing out runners, which gave him the fourth best caught stealing percentage in the National League.
The Pirates currently don’t have any catching options to start the season. The only catcher on the 40-man roster right now is 22-year-old Endy Rodriguez, who doesn’t even have a half season above A-Ball, and isn’t an option for Opening Day.
Heineman would likely compete for a backup role, as the Pirates appear to want a better option in the starting role to begin the season.
That starter could be Roberto Perez, who was supposed to start playing winter ball in Puerto Rico earlier this month to show that he’s healthy from his season-ending injury. He has not appeared in a game yet. He’s probably not signing until after he plays at least a few games.
Mackey also reported last week that the Pirates have expressed interest in Tucker Barnhart, who is a two-time Gold Glove winner.
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.