The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 29-year-old left-handed pitcher Geronimo Franzua to a minor league deal. He has spent the last five seasons playing in Japan.
Franzua was originally an international free agent signing of the Houston Astros out of the Dominican Republic at 16 years old in 2010. He was a higher profile signing as a lefty who hit 91 MPH, with an advanced changeup at a young age. He pitched three seasons in the Dominican Summer League before being released. He didn’t play pro ball again until 2018, when he showed up in Japan. He has also played some winter ball in the Dominican during that time.
Franzua put up strong stats in Japan during the 2018-20 seasons, but he has struggled during each of the last two seasons, while seeing limited time due to a knee surgery. He had a 7.36 ERA over 11 appearances during the 2022 season. He posted a 2.45 ERA in 2020, 2.69 in 2019 and 1.89 in 2018, throwing a total of 243.2 innings, while picking up 289 strikeouts.
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.
Three Billion people in India and China and we haven’t signed one lefthander from those countries this offseason. And we wonder why the Pirates can’t succeed.
These balloons aren’t from China folks. They are new advance scouts combing the earth for left handed pitching.
There’s probably at least one person offended by your comment. But F them! I think it’s hilarious!
Video from his IG shows him popping 96
I hope one of these guys works out. Probably not though. Again, for the umpteenth thousand time, losing those 9 pitchers in the MiLB Rule 5 really hurts the minor league pitching depth. I would take 4 of those guys back over the 7-10 or so free agent signings and NRI. I don’t think I’m ever gonna get over the stupidity of that happening.
Let me know when one of those 9 pitchers become a viable major league player. There are LOTS of MILB-caliber pitchers out there to fill the gaps.
There was no way of knowing beforehand that teams would make a run on their MILB depth.
We’ll be fine.
Trey McGough will see a MLB field. Peter Solomon already has. Joe Jacques also will. Austin Roberts and Cristian Charle both have a chance. So does Domingo Gonzalez. Not to mention Joelvis.
I don’t think Wilkin Ramos or Enmanuel Mejia have the control but Mejia was the Pirates 2021 minor league RP of the year. Both of them probably have the best stuff and if they are able to harness some control, I could see both as viable MLB RP too.
Do ou know tomorrow’s lottery nu,beers, too? 🤣🤣🤣
Glad you were able to read my comment. Very few people are fluent in Typoese.
I would have rather seen them resign Travis MacGregor. It seemed like he started to figure a few things out as a RP last season. His K rate was way up.
To be honest, it is not like we had 9 spots to try to hide all 9 anyway.
They had 8.
Can’t hurt to give him a chance.
My favorite dad joke:
What did Geronimo say when he jumped off the cliff?
I honestly don’t get that joke.
Now, that’s funny!
To me a second too! LOL!!
A second? An hour later and I am still befuddled.
When you leap you yell Geronimo….so the joke is what does Geronimo yell when he leaps off the cliff….Mee….
Thx….I think. 😀
He needs a new dad joke. 🤣🤣🤣🤣
I WILL hunt you down for laughing at my dullness!! 😡😡😡
All the lefthanders are belong to the Pirates
All? Gotta be more out there! I. WANT. MORE. LHPs
Scouring the known sources of left-handedness on the planet, scouts are leaving no leaf unturned. From the jungles of deepest Africa, from the tundra of the Arctic, from the mountains of Nepal, any lefty who can get a batter out will be found by Ben Cherington’s team! (Now what to do with them when spring training is over?)
and some that can’t get a batter out!
A few of these guys may have opt-out rights, so they may disappear if they don’t make the roster. I can’t remember the exact rule. Need a primer from Ethan.
Anyway, better to bring in a bunch of guys on MiL deals than keep frantically making waiver claims and putting them straight on the 40-man.
Without the new rules to read, I can’t confirm anything, but it was reported that Retention Bonuses were replaced with uniform opt out dates–5 days before OD, May 1, and June 1.
My assumption is that if that replaced Retention Bonuses, these uniform opt outs would apply to the same players, XX(B) free agents, or players with 6.000+ YOS.
That would apply to Plawecki specifically, however, Chatwood and Owings did not reach free agency via XX(B)–Owings was a MiFA and Chatwood was overseas. Therefore, I have no idea if these apply to those two or not.
Also, a few of the MiFA may or may not have assignment clauses for foreign leagues.
The Pirates can probably hang onto this one if they want. He was released by Houston without ever being added to the 40-man, so likely never got outrighted, and then went to Japan. It is likely he can’t refuse if he is outrighted.
If a player has 3 years MLB service time, or have been outrighted previously, they can opt out, and become a free agent.
That’s only if they clear outright waivers after being removed from the 40-man roster, different than opt outs during ST.
Now we have ALL the minor league lefties!
At least based off of pre-covid numbers, seems sneaky interesting
I agree, interesting. Is the group of minor league signings more interesting than the pitchers we lost in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft? Probably comparable, though definitely older. It seems we essentially traded players who might be useful someday for players who have been useful at some point in the past.
This feels like dross to sift through for the next 2 years and maybe find a nugget. Many of the MiL losses seemed 3-4 years away.