Report: The Pirates Are Re-Signing Catcher Tyler Heineman

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.

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.

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MB21

Where are Knapp, M. Perez, and Godoy? Now that’s a reunion, folks!

ravidesai1984

Are you waiting for Godoy?

The Gunner

Looks like the catching staff for 2023 is finally settled with a platoon of Heineman and Delay to hold the fort until Endy’s June arrival.

Wouldn’t surprise me one iota!

1979andCounting

OK, at least it’s a Milb deal. Which isn’t bad for the Bucs……he could’ve sat tight and gotten a majors deal from someone. I’d add him to the 26-man at end of ST over Delay…….we shall see.

Zack

Minor league deal, not worth complaining about and unlikely to return much value. I feel like every team in baseball signs at least one journeyman catcher to a minor league deal for depth. Pretty routine signing.

b mcferren

Stallings is still my #1 target for catcher

robertkasperski

Highly doubt the Bucs will trade anything for Jacob

b mcferren

Did the marlins trade anything for him?

robertkasperski

Yes and I would not trade the 3 back for him.

Danatural08

I think that the Bucs chances of landing an mid tier interesting free agent at market rate diminished when their best player is asking for a trade. And im not faulting Reynolds for doing so. Was poor timing for that news to break.

Sometimes, free agents just want the highest contract, but also usually high up on the list is a chance to win. If you’re Quintana or Manaea, & the Bucs are offering a similar contract or higher than what they accepted from NYM & SFG, how could they possibly pass those offers up for the next 2 years of their lives with the bucs unless those players believed the bucs were going to make playoffs in those 2 years? And how could they believe that when the Buc’s best player wants out?

IMO BC’s only chance to make an upgrade this offseason is to make some trades or overpay a FA.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m still open to Stripling, who is available.

b mcferren

time to trade some prospects for dudes like Alejandro Kirk and Daulton Varsho

b mcferren

everybody ready to overpay for Christian Vasquez?

b mcferren

dodged a bullet

that guy stinks

Last edited 1 month ago by b mcferren
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Yeah!! Lets do it!!! lol though apparently all they needed to do was give the A’s Ji-Hwan Bae for Contreras

b mcferren

would rather have Bae

dude´s legs look like cartoon spinning wheel legs when he is stealing second

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hoptown

Thumbs down. Unless he’s the 3rd catcher. Even average teams don’t play guys like this. They are AAA fodder in case of emergencies.

JimEastTennessee

I have him as 4th catcher, no bat with good emergency glove.

robertkasperski

It is a MiLB deal so pretty much what he is at the moment.

b mcferren

good – I like him

b mcferren

would much rather give April and May at bats to Heineman than Roberto Perez

emjayinTN

Heineman and Delay are Pitcher’s Catchers and they know this young staff very well. Last year they accounted for a 0.7 fWAR (Heineman 0.5 and Delay 0,2) which was primarily based on their defensive capabilities highlighted by their combined 7 Defensive Runs Saved.

robertkasperski

Pitches were all praising Roberto Perez though

emjayinTN

Hard to account for what Pitchers think. I did the stats (FG) at 400+ innings because that’s what Delay and Heineman both played. To add Perez in the comparison, I dropped it to 150 innings which he played:

Heineman – 20th with 5 DRS and a DEF of 9.5
Delay – 25th with 2 DRS and a DEF of 7.3
Perez – 41st with 3 DRS and a DEF of 3.2

They are all above average in DRS – 0 is average. Average in DEF is also 0, Above Average is +4, and Great is +12, so Heineman and Delay are well above average, and Perez is just a point shy of above average.

robertkasperski

Not arguing the results. Just remember pitchers commenting on how Perez helped them. Maybe it was more him watching them when he was on the IL and talking to and working with them on what he saw. No matter who goes behind the plate to start the season, I will be waiting to see how Endy does when he gets his turn.😁

b mcferren

Just Brubaker was

And if we’re up to me, Brubaker would not have a locked spot in the rotation

b mcferren

well said

these two dudes don´t get enough credit for success of Keller, Raonsy, Oviedo and Ortiz

Wilbur Miller

Of course Mackey loves this. The Pirates have easily the worst record in MLB since Hodge ‘n Podge took over. By definition, the overwhelming majority of their acquisitions have been bad ones, yet as far as I can recall Mackey has liked every single one.

TNBucs

Yeah, and it’s a shame because his writing and interviews with players are excellent, but I find it hard to read many of his articles now because he defends every move the FO makes. I’m not anti-FO, but I also don’t think they’ve been uniformly good as Mackey would have you believe.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

I looked at the Sean Murphy trade and cringed hoping it doesn’t tell us about what offers Cherington is getting for Reynolds:

They got a 45 fv RP (Muller), a 40 fv CF (Ruiz) who can steal a ton of bases but has trouble getting on, a 40 fv SP who debuted last year (Tarnock), I don’t even see Salinas on The Board and an old bad catcher in Manny Pina.

MLB Trade Values had Murphy fairly close in value to Reynolds is why I mention this. Same control and a 52 instead of a 59 for Bryan. If these are the deals being offered for Bryan, he really should renew his lease in Pittsburgh.

TNBucs

And yes, if all that’s being offered are quantity trades, then I’d keep Reynolds. Though of course teams value prospects differently and perhaps the A’s have a couple of these players as 50’s or higher.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

We should just trade BRey and Cruz to the Padres for Tatis instead.

TNBucs

My first impression was that the Brewers did great and now after reading ESPN’s take, I’m even more convinced of that. It’s a shame that we couldn’t have been that third team because I would have loved seeing us get a player like Contreras (who would be a good DH too) for a player of Ruiz’s prospect level.

I just keep waiting until we start turning some of our prospect depth into quality major league players via trades, and will be pretty disappointed if Cherington doesn’t make at least one such move this offseason.

Scam likely

I think the pirates could have beaten the brewers offer, let’s say nick Gonzalez.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Well, the weird part is the Braves gave up actually close to Murphy’s value (per BTV). But somehow, the glut of that value (Contreras) went to the Brewers, for nothing.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

Yeah I don’t get it at all.

Wilbur Miller

Pirates last year were dead last in wRC+ and wOBA at catcher, so we’re getting the team back together!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

And Brewers get William Contreras+ for basically nothing. Make it make sense.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)
PirateRican21

The Braves had d’Arnaud, Contreras and Piña and they were not happy with the position, we have……

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I can’t wrap my head around what the Brewers got, for ONLY a speedy utility prospect. Of all teams, it had to be the Brewers. I don’t understand what the A’s were thinking.

PirateRican21

So…..keep Reynolds???

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Or don’t bring in a third team lol unless it’s another Joey Lucchesi for Endy.

Again, using BTV just as a go-by, the Braves did give up similar value to Murphy. It was slightly under, but it was close. The Brewers involvement is what makes no sense. It makes sense from a standpoint of A’s didn’t necessarily need Contreras, and a team like Brewers do. But Brewers gave up nothing for him.

bradlej31

Per Trevor Plouffe on Jomboy Heineman is a serious magician. Kinda funny

Scam likely

Start printing playoff tickets baby!!

Micky

I would like to see the Bucs look into a trade for Mitch Garver. According to BB Tradevalues he wouldn’t cost much. Probably a little safer than Perez.

1979andCounting

The Rangers are trying to win now. Garver had forearm surgery so he’s not able to throw yet. I’m thinking Perez is a safer bet for ’23.

Danatural08

Just when Im feeling down in the dumps about the team, & ready to throw in the towel, BC comes thru with a huge move! BC you ol sailor, you know how to reel me back in. Totally redeemed yourself!

PirateRican21

Post season is within reach!

mpg43952

Start printing the world series ti x!

Danatural08

1-800-Buy Bucs

leefieux

Minor league depth. Hopefully we won’t need him. But, tbh, Barnhart, Perez and Stallings aren’t exactly offensive forces. All are just placeholders for Endy and Henry.

PirateRican21

Don’t believe that, Wilburn wrote this in reply to a comment I made about needing two open spot for the catching spot, basically said that they will wait until the end of ST before adding one or two of the non roster invites. Right now I’m betting that Delay and him will once again be our backstops once the season begins.

leefieux

I would have to agree with you.

Wilbur Miller

I think the odds are better than 50/50 now that they don’t sign a real catcher. They’re trying to wait the market out, hoping somebody ends up with no other choices and signs with them for nothing, and that approach leads to failure of one sort or another every time.

sewer2001

Hopefully they simply are deciding that Endy will be ready very soon. I’m glad if they don’t block him with someone on a real salary. I don’t want September only with Endy. I want him in may or June and as a ROY candidate.

mpg43952

Wait, that might cost Nickles some $$$!

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