3-15-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
The Pirates finally got active in the free agent market today, and while these aren’t big names, they certainly fill needs and add real veteran depth.
Daniel Vogelbach (1B/DH)
They’ll list him as an infielder probably but realistically he’s only going to play first base and DH for the club. He’s a very nice compliment to Michael Chavis and Yoshi Tsutsugo with the same skill set even if a bit more tested.
The lefty started his career in Seattle and even made an All Star appearance in 2019 a season that saw him get significant playing time, participating in 144 games and getting 558 at bats he swatted 30 homeruns and his .208 average was mitigated a bit by his 92 walks.
He’d never see that kind of action again topping out with 93 games in Milwaukee last year where he looked to have gotten back to what makes him tick. Hitting the ball hard and racking up walks.
This makes finding a winner for these two spots more likely. Three guys who could all legitimately step in and put one over the fence to fill two spots means extended slumps might be provided some cover.
Vogelbach has signed a one year deal and no, I don’t think it’s a nailed on given that he’s the first baseman. His glove isn’t much better than Yoshi if at all. Both are better than Josh Bell at the position if you need something to compare to.
Heath is a veteran reliever who had 83 strikeouts in 58 innings just last season. The 33 year old spent most of his career in Boston (wonder who might have liked him from that time) and his career numbers make him a pretty safe bet to become a nice option in the Pirates pen.
Hembree specializes in killing right handed hitting, holding them to a .181 batting average in 138 at bats last season and typically has kept the ball in the yard, save his half season in Cincinnati last year.
To make room on the 40-man the Pirates placed Blake Cederlind on the 60-day IL which was completely expected as he continues his recovery from TJS, and Nick Mears was also added to the 60-day as he underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up his elbow a bit from scar tissue.