The Pirates Acquire Connor Joe for Nick Garcia

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Sunday night that they have acquired 1B/OF Connor Joe from the Colorado Rockies for right-handed pitcher Nick Garcia. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Nick Mears has been designated for assignment.

Joe was originally drafted by the Pirates 39th overall in the 2014 draft. He was traded away in 2017 when they acquired Sean Rodriguez from the Atlanta Braves.

The 30-year-old Joe didn’t debut in the majors until 2019, and he didn’t stick in the majors until 2021. He played eight games for the 2019 San Diego Padres, didn’t play in 2020, then signed with the Rockies for the 2021 season.

Joe hit .285/.379/.469 in 65 games in 2021. He saw much more time in 2022, finishing with a .238/.338/.359 slash line in 111 games.

As you would expect, he was helped a great deal by playing in Colorado, putting up a career .823 OPS at home and .649 on the road. The right-handed hitting Joe has also had more success against lefty pitchers, though not as big of a split as his home/road numbers.

Most of his time on defense in the majors has been spent in left field, but he has also played first base each of the last two years, and he added right field to his resume in 2022. He was given an -0.1 dWAR in 2022, but he’s been credited with 0.4 dWAR over his big league time.

Nick Garcia had a strong season for Greensboro this year, putting together a 3.66 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 109 strikeouts in 113 innings. He made 12 of his 23 starts at a high-offense home park. The 23-year-old was a third round pick of the Pirates in the 2020 draft. Anthony Murphy wrote about him last month.

Nick Garcia: Simplified Approach In Work As A Starter

Mears was injured and/or rehabbing for most of 2022. His big league time was limited to two late-season games. The 26-year-old has a 4.75 ERA, a 5.71 FIP, a 1.68 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 30.1 innings over three seasons with the Pirates.

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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I liked Nick Garcia but imo he was a 5th -6th starter in MLB at best; or most likely a long relief pitcher. He does have some upside though seeing he hasn’t pitched much but he is also Rule 5 eligible after this season(and now we have to worry about not being added to the AAA roster and being eligible to the MiLB rule 5 portion too).

What I don’t understand is why not trade these guys like Hoy Park. Should’ve traded Yajure, Castillo, Mears(and even tried to trade Lewin Diaz). Or DFA’d them earlier when teams were up against the 40 man and they might have passed through waivers. Or atleast DFA’d one of them earlier and added Sabol to the 40 man.

But you have to give something up to get something. I’ll take Connor Joe right now over a future Nick Garcia. But now it makes me not like the Choi trade(and where does Andujar fit in?). Santana/Joe would’ve been a fine platoon at 1B with Joe playing some RF too. And use Choi’s 40man roster spot for Sabol.

Last edited 1 month ago by pittsburghbob69

Every move cements the fact that there is no plan. Stop blocking the playing time of young players. For God’s sake.


RF platoon partner with Suwinski?


So the prodigal Joe returns but at what cost? Again the Pirates grab for prior results ignoring what was done recently. I think the Pirates will regret this trade. Garcia might be the better of the two players when all is said and done.


Well we got Ryan Vilade and Connor Joe from one of the other worst teams in the league to play OF. Would have been nice to get two OF’s from say…anyone else in the league. Hope they can do well in the Burgh.


So….why do they need CJ? Santana is a switch-hitter and Andujar is a RHH. Seems like enough for 1B & DH. For the OF? He’s a little more proven than Vilade, but it’s not like he has a long track record of MLB results.

And why give up a promising pitching prospect for a guy like CJ? Is the thinking that the cost of the prospect plus CJ’s contract is less than the $7-8M they’d have to spend to get similar dismal production from a RHH FA OFer? Maybe. But it further exposes what a high value the org is forced to put on the money. Even with a tiny payroll, they’d rather give up a decent prospect than spend an extra $5-6M to knowingly get crap production from a corner OFer. 1 WAR guys are out there for $6-8M. Myers, Duvall, Mancini, Pham, Pollock.

Sorry. Don’t get it.


Looks like Joe is that RH OF bat to compliment all the lefties. Writing is on the wall for Andujar.

Could be a nice move if he can get back to his 2021 #’s and they have 5 years of control.

What RH outfielder is Joe *blocking*?


Agree about Andujar. I think this move is due to the Pirates not liking what they saw at the DR league. Specially with Andjurar’s (no) Power…
I bet he’s released/optioned this week!


What goes around comes around…


Cherington is an artist and he’s crafted and built a couple teams so horrendously bad that even a good manager couldn’t avoid a 100 loss season. Players like Connor Joe fit that scheme perfectly.


Is Garcia Rule 5 eligable next year?
If so maybe they crunched numbers and clear there will NEVER be enough spots on the taxi to keep
Didn’t see a trade coming especially
for CJ who is with his 6th team
been traded 4 times, DFA 3 and also elected FA,
I guess he’s the perfect trade chip

Happy for Garcia hopefully they did you a favor, in fact, I know they did


Interesting addition

He rates well in terms of arm-strength


Does this count as a revival of the Ricardo Rincon trade?


(Joe was the last remaining link to the Rincon trade before he was traded for SRod)


I guess Conner Joe was the “one who got away” — at least by this franchise’s pathetic standards. It’s funny: the organization did a full blown confetti announcement for Vince Valezquez $3.1 million signing — while Garcia signed for less than 2 less & we just kind of gave him away

Cape Cod Sean

Everyone calm down he’s for the pennant race.

Not ours obviously. He does have options left maybe the Indianapolis pirates pennant race? Or he’ll actually hit a bit and be trade bait an ala voglebach.

Nick Garcia good luck.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cape Cod Sean

I had Joe on my fantasy baseball roster last year for a couple months. He was really hot at the time, and dropped him for another guy in waivers. When I had him though, he was hitting .280 or higher. Surprised to see his BA dropped that low last year. Always pretty good for walks. Great hair.
I won my league out of 10 people so I am a professional you can trust. I am an expert.


Sorry – obligatory


I too judge how good a guy is by seeing if he was owned at all in my 12 man league. I lost in the championship. Actually tied but he won due to better overall season record. So that’s two experts in one post.


We should start a podcast


Well, Joe’s cheap – there’s that. In fairness, he’s put up really good numbers in the upper minors (ok, in the PCL) for several years. He’s probably close to a league-average bat, true talent wise.

As for losing Garcia, I’m not sure they’ll miss him, but I am surprised they gave up on him so quickly. You draft a guy like that out of a D3 school, typically you’re going for the late bloomer effect. It’s not like he struggled at either level, even if he only has a 6th/7th SP/reliever profile. You don’t want him to break out somewhere else for Connor Joe.


Why not just sign a free agent? Burnitz is still available




And the fact that they actually gave up a player is downright disgraceful.


Always a good idea to trade for somebody who hit .238 playing for the Rockies. Might just as well have kept Chavis. This team could set the record for lowest team batting average since the dead ball era. Being a Pirate fan has become very tedious. I’m beginning to think that 60 some years is enough.

b mcferren

any chance Joe gets some reps at catcher?

Wilbur Miller



He could be van meter’s replacement as the emergency catcher when everyone else gets hurt.

b mcferren

thought that was Oneil´s job?


I’m ok with this move. His numbers will likely regress from not being in Coors, but he’s a year removed from an .850 OPS and is a Major League caliber player to fill out the Major League squad. That’s far from a given with the Pirates (see Austin Hedges/Michael Perez/Andrew Knapp/Cheringtons constant quest for the most impossibly bad catcher he can find). Nick Garcia is intriguing, and the opposite case, park wise, where his numbers could improve from a change in scenery. But he’s a High-A prospect who isn’t that high on our organizational depth chart for RHP prospects. Odds are low that he reaches his full potential as an ML starter.


I am seriously at a point where we need to consider. The Cherrington is not a good general manager. He continues to waste resources on poor veteran players, and now is trading good prospects for poor veteran players. This is getting ridiculous. We seriously need new management.


It’s fine.

I just cant fathom why they’d rather give up an interesting Garcia than give up a few million for Joe’s FA equivalent.

But yeah. It’s fine. Needed another OF for sure amd he can hit a little

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007

Exactly, especially since Garcia got a 7 figure signing bonus only two years ago. Can’t help but think you can pick up a conner joe type for free in spring (probably literally for free as reports suggest he was superfluous in Colorado). You give a guy 1.2m in 2020 and best you can do is Conner Joe as return. Not a huge setback for the franchise but a head scratcher

b mcferren

fading dreams of Cutch returning

Wilbur Miller

Still two roster spots to open up. Git yer sweepstakes tickets now! Will it be . . .

Max Kranick
Yohan Ramirez
Duane Underwood, Jr.
Tucupita Marcano
Travis Swaggerty
Ryan Vilade
Rex the Wonder Lizard

Last edited 1 month ago by Wilbur Miller
Scam likely

Kranick ,will go to 60IL after spring training when they decide on backup catcher. Don’t count out Thompson/Wilson do you need both of them.they offered underwood arb. so I don’t know if he can be dfa.


This really feels like Vilade gets pushed off. And I’ve been dreaming of a DUJ DFA since September

Wilbur Miller

DUJ is one of these frustrating guys who isn’t terrible, but who always seems to give up runs at the worst time.


He’s been mis-used by Pirates manager, like everyone else. He’s a one,inning pitcher. Most of the damage he incurs is multiple innings.


I’m always open to dfa’ing underwood.


Came here to say this

Wilbur Miller

I’m wondering whether something went wrong with Jarlin Garcia’s physical. Of course, it could be travel issues or something else innocuous.


Skip the quantity, get some quality.


Where did you come from, where did you go? Where did you come from Connor Joe?

Scam likely

Hey Joe what you doing with that gun/ bat in your hand.


Another stupid move by the Pirates….give up a young pitcher with potential to acquire a mediocre veteran to help block prospects…why? Does Joe move the needle and help make this team a contender? NO!!!


Seems like a lot to give up for someone who struggled last year, and now they have too many of these kinds of guys with 4 in the fold for 1b and or low level corner OF types.

Last edited 1 month ago by TurnerWardHitsTheWall

I can’t believe they gave up Nick Garcia for a guy with two first names who hits well in mile high air

no sorry

hideous is better


I don’t hate this move. I hope he can at least be a platoon partner for 1b/rf.


Will that make 4 possible 1st basemen?


Part of me wonders if this is gathering some depth in the OF in the case of a Reynolds trade. My preference is that they bring in an MLB OF in return( Kelenic, Carlson etc) but maybe those aren’t being offered. I do like Joe although I feel like Andujar has a higher upside


Yes yes yes!!! I haven’t given up on u, Connor Joe. Sweetest RH swing Neil ever drafted. Gaby Sanchez short side 1B platoon eat your heart out.

Now where in the hell is Trey Supak, Ben go get him.


He adds at least one missing skill to the roster, particularly from the right side of the plate. That being walks to strikeouts. For someone who lines doubles and has enough power to hit a few fingers, he’s got an idea of which pitches to take. That and a better glove than Andujar means he’s bringing something to the lineup options.

It’s surprising that he has so little service time but cancer can do such things, I suppose. In the unlikely event he pans out, they have him through all his peak prime years, physically.


Andujar hasn’t even unpacked yet. He may be leaving


Vilade gets dropped first. But Andujar hasn’t exactly earned the right to a slow start, given his last 4 years.

Wilbur Miller

Well, Joe has two options left. That’s probably very relevant here.


I think he’s a MLB bench piece. Cherington seems to want players that are possibly part of the future playing every day. That makes me think Bae starts year in AAA.


That was telegraphed as part of the plan when Bae remained in Indianapolis until days left in the season. The ultimate good news/bad news scenario – Good news, Ji-Hwan: we think of you as a key contributor to the next competitive Pirate team. Bad news, Mr. Bae: that means we can’t possibly call you up before June 1.


I like the idea of adding a rh platoon mate for 1b/dh, but his road splits are not great. He hit well in Colorado. I would think there are better options out there.


Lets hope it works as well as when the Bucs brought back Joey Bats the 2nd time


This should match the Swanson signing of Cubs, but not the Smyly signing, Bucs keep up


So we’re trying to be like the Cubs?


Looks like another pointless move. They really have no clue what there doing


I agree, what are we competing for
Give the young uns the at bats


Because the young uns might not be that good.


RH platoon for 1b/DH?


If he was acquired as a short term RH platoon hitter, not a bad pickup.


His career splits are fairly small,but he hits LHP better. Most of his experience is in LF, and the stats suggest he’s a good one. So, I agree.

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