Pirates Announce Non-Roster Invites to Spring Training; Veteran Infielder Chris Owings Signs

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced 17 non-roster invites to Spring Training on Thursday. Included in the group is veteran infielder Chris Owing, who signed as a minor league free agent.

As you can see by the group above, you have a mix of minor league vets and top prospects, to go along with the top prospects already on the 40-man roster, as well as minor league free agent signings announced earlier this off-season

Unless someone else is added, it looks like the backup catching battle will be between Tyler Heineman and Jason Delay, who split most of the catching in 2022. Carter Bins, Henry Davis and Endy Rodriguez are the only other catchers in camp, besides starter Austin Hedges.

Quinn Priester, Nick Gonzales, Henry Davis and Termarr Johnson are consistently ranked as top ten prospects in the system, as are Endy Rodriguez, Liover Peguero, Mike Burrows, Ji-hwan Bae and Luis Ortiz, who are on the 40-man roster. That’s going to make for a very interesting Spring Training, not to mention the other interesting prospects there, such as Matt Gorski, Jared Jones, Malcom Nunez, Kyle Nicolas, etc.

As for Chris Owings, he has played 710 games over ten years in the majors. He saw limited time with the Baltimore Orioles last year, and did poorly, finishing with a .107/.254/.143 slash line in 26 games. That was quite a departure from his limited time with the Colorado Rockies in 2021, when he had a 1.048 OPS in 21 games. His career numbers show a .239/.287/.366 slash line.

Owings has mostly played middle infield, but he has played everywhere except first base and catcher in his career. Not including the shortened 2020 season, his last full season in the majors was 2017.

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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What is this love affair Pirate management has with Maggi? Sure he was a draft choice but truly he is not going to make this team now or ever. Do they see a future coach in him?


Probably there as a veteran presence for the younger prospects that are hitting AAA. Probably will make a good coach or manager someday too. Isn’t there an opening in Visalia?


Glad to see Malcom Nunez and Matt Gorski invited. Along with Jared Triolo who is on the 40 already, I think these 3 will really help to lengthen the lineup with solid hitters in ’23/’24.


Since some Pirate players might be away at the World Baseball Classic, there might be a greater chance for the minor leaguers to get into games or stay in camp longer than in a typical year.

I’m surprised to see Termarr on the list given his age and lack of professional experience. They must really expect him to move fast through the system.


Owing is from the little town in SC that my farm is in. I also work at the local library. Was telling my supervisor (who knows him and family) that he signed while reading this article. Scrolled down to see if there were any comments. Quickly closed the site before she read the messages.
For the record. I don’t know him or any of his family. I also randomly work with the aunt of the guy who hit the cycle of HR’s last summer. And now you know. Can’t no one top that story.


I remember Owings tear it up with the Rockies after a good ST, then he got hurt which was heartbreaking bc it was during his break through year.


This is gold!


Thanks. I figured that epic tale would close this discussion and lead to much adulation. Think his brother had a kidney transplant that was donated by his mom. Pretty sure two dudes from Gilbert played on Coastal Carolina’s Championship team a few years back. I am a fountain of Gilbert, SC knowledge. Despite being from New Kensington, PA.


Shortly after my brother graduated from William & Mary he and 4 guys (2 football teammates and 2 randoms) rented a house in Alexandria, Virginia. For whatever reason, he and his former football teammates were driving through Arlington and an accident ensued, with a car flipping over and catching fire. The 3 of them got out to assist and noticed it was a lady and a small child, they tried to open the doors, but couldn’t as it was pinned to the road. They ended up lifting the car and rescued the small child and mother. It ended up being Joe Gibbs grandchild and Gibbs hooked the 3 up with lifetime Redskins (Commander) tickets.

Last edited 1 month ago by Catch_22

Now that’s a story that can’t be topped. They are for sure heroes. I felt cool earlier when my 3 yr old daughter showed me a book cover with Superman holding a tree above his head and said “he is as strong as your daddy”.


Man, those are the days. My kids thought I could walk across the Allegheny when they were that age. Now they’re 16 & 17 and not quite as naive. They just want money all the time now.


That’s why I work part time at the library and homestead the rest of the time. I left the physical therapy field to spend as much time with my family and outside as possible. My son is 5. Gal is 3. You could probably paddle board across the Allegheny. And I bet I could lift a tree over my head. Is a twig a tree?


Why is everyone assuming Owings is making this team? It’s a minor league deal. He’s just going to be depth that’s it.


I think there would be two key questions. Who is the backup SS and are they going to carry just four guys for 2B, 3B, and SS?

I’d assume Hayes, Cruz, and Castro make the team along with either Bae or Marcano. I’m leaning towards Marcano to start the year with the idea that it’s to hold back Bae’s service time. Happy to be wrong. Regardless, there’s not much point in carrying Bae and Marcano both on the major league roster.

Let’s say one of Cruz, Hayes, and Castro has a minor injury and is out 3-7 days. Do the other three guys play every inning until the injured guy gets back? Probably not. I think they’ll have 5 guys that can play 2B/3B/SS (and that Connor Joe’s A-ball time at 3B isn’t enough for him to be considered one of those guys).

Let’s say it’s Cruz who gets an injury where it’s not long enough to where he goes on the IL. Is it really Castro at SS indefinitely? I thought the word was that his range to cover 2B was in question. Playing SS for more than a day or two seems like a reach.

One minor disappointment last year was Marcano playing 2B while Castro slid over to SS. I thought Marcano was adequate at SS. Bae doesn’t throw well enough to be an option at SS for more than a few innings in my opinion.

Anyway, I think they’ll carry 5 guys who can play 2B/3B/SS and that one will be somebody who can play SS for 3-7 days if Cruz is in a slump or has a minor injury.

I don’t want Owings on the team myself. I like guys who can swing the bat even just a little. I’d consider it similar to backup catcher. They’ll probably go with Heineman. I’d be fine with a decent hitting backup C who might be below average defensively. But, that’s not Cherington’s style. He wants good defense at the key spots even if they can’t hit at all. So, Owings has a shot if he can still play a decent SS defensively.


Read up on Problem Behavior Theories. Explains why people are the way they are. Generally, something happened when they were a small child and scarred them for life. Once you peel back the 5 layers of aggression, you’ll understand the sickness.


I would like to know that too.


Oh no, not another veteran utility infielder comment section!, you all way overuse your utility infielder sarcasm…we just can’t trust you with such an article anymore… and can we not do the 7th inning Fire Shelton, 8th inning bourbon, and 9th inning VanMeter name reference comments, just because that sequence was set in stone two weeks ago?….I bet a Cardinal site would have developed less redundant commenters by now, even ones who couldn’t write a draft when they started…..and just because you can field a comment better than just about anyone, if you can’t provide a better launch angle to your barb, I’m all for replacing you with someone that seems to write better hitting comments for a minor league site…


Josh Harrison was available until 3 days ago and his stats have been much better than Owings. But I guess he couldn’t back up at SS?


Harrison got a major league deal while Owings got a minor league deal. If owings shows he’s washed up he doesn’t even get a roster spot.


Any surprise omissions on the list?

Mason Martin/Shackelford?

Wilbur Miller

More and more, the major leaguers are getting their reps in at Pirate City, in minor league games. Which of course means minor leaguers are appearing more in the major league exhibition games. I suspect it’s easier for the major leaguers to pop in, get a few innings or PAs, and duck out quickly in the less “formal” games at PC. There isn’t a terribly meaningful distinction any more between being an NRI or just a guy from MiL camp.


Calling it: opening day Murderers’ Row bench of Joe, Heineman, Marcano, and Owings.

Bae might grab Marcano’s spot once he won’t use up a year of service time (late April) unless Marcano is tearing it up (unlikely) and/or Bae isn’t doing very well at AAA (who knows in a small sample size of April).

I’d be happy to be wrong and have more guys who can swing the bat on the bench. With a DH and the reduced need for pinch hitting and double switches, a bad hitting bench might not hurt as much in 2023 as it used to.

I never thought I’d say this but I wish we still had Kevin Newman. If Cruz gets hurt for a few days or is in a slump, then it would be nice if we had someone who could field the position well and isn’t someone where a .107 batting average doesn’t surprise me.

We had the money and Ben Cherington is obsessed with defense. Maybe the budget target was adjusted upward after Newman was shipped out? Probably not (and we’d never know either way) but you never know.


Will we have a Spring Training Tracker as we have in years past?


Over the last 5 years, he has a strikeout rate that is above 30%


Owings that is.


Just no.


Dammit. Do we _have_ to give Shelton a crappy utility veteran to overuse every offseason? Am I really mad about the Owings signing or do I just wish Shelton was fired?



Oh hey, C42! I’m Isit2016. We met IRL once. You still on Reddit?


Can’t get on reddit, because I can’t find my password.


It’s run by pervs and weirdos anyway, you’re better off. (not the Bucs sub but all of Reddit)

Last edited 1 month ago by RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

They have to have that player who can’t hit, but plays all over the field. I am convinced that is what they really like about Ryan Vilade. They say he has power he has not tapped into in games, but I think the truth is he is not a good hitter and can play all over the field. I was looking at him this week. In the minors he has played every position except c, p, and 2B. He has played more games at ss than anywhere else. They want him to be their next player that plays everywhere and cannot hit.

Wilbur Miller

Am I really mad about the Owings signing or do I just wish Shelton was fired?



At least he is only signed on a MiLB deal, unlike the utility guy signed last season who shall remain nameless so someone here does not see the name and lose lunch over it.


The Van I drive has a Meter in it


I don’t get it, oh wait VanMeter? 😂


Pretty sure it’s in his contract. He’ll caddy for Shelton on off days, too.

Wilbur Miller

The NRI list is guys who were just invited. Heineman, Perdomo, Chatwood, Webb, Zamora and Zastrzsnzynzzzynz were invited earlier.

b mcferren

Hot Take

Nick Gonzalez busts it out in Spring Training and Castro boots it

and then we all get pissed when Nick gets left off the opening day roster


NEVER take a player north based on ST stats! NEVER!

b mcferren

who cares about his service time if Termarr is on the way?

would much rather have Nick than Tucupita because Nick can play shortstop too

how good is Nick´s defense at short? how good is his defense at second? do all these high heat conversation matter if Nick´s role is redefined as back up utility infielder?

plus, dont we have to throw the league a bone with these new rookie of the year incentive rules?

Wilbur Miller

It’s not every day you can find a guy who hit .107. This FO leaves no stone unturned.


A former first round pick who is only 2 years older than Newman. Cruz, Castro, and Bae are more than capable of handling the MI, and if we need a toolbag for IF/OF, Bae or Tucupita Marcano are capable.

Just checked guys who played SS at AAA in 2022 – Cruz, Castro, Bae, Castillo, Park, Maggi, Marcano, Newman, Kaiser, and Tucker. Owings is going to be our “beyond full panic” MI veteran at AAA?


I can just imagine he and Hedges batting back to back.


Your assuming he’ll bat at the bottom of the order, can’t count on that. VanMeter often batted 5th or 6th last year.

Wilbur Miller

Hopefully Owings doesn’t know anything about bourbon.




Lol! Love the movie and one of my favorite scenes.

b mcferren

pitched an inning last year


Bets on who leads the team in spring abs him or maggi


Van Meter light….

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