Pirates sign Phillippe Valiquette, 100-MPH-throwing lefty

Justin K. Aller

The Pirates have signed reliever Phillippe Valiquette to a minor-league deal, according to his agent (via Tim).

In all likelihood, this will turn out to be a novelty signing of a player who will never make the majors. But what novelty! Valiquette has reportedly thrown 100 MPH as a lefty reliever. His agent says he's thrown as hard as 103; this report from Baseball America has him at 96. There isn't much agreement there, but the point is that Valiquette at least once had very good velocity for a lefty. (He was in the Reds system at the time, which is weird -- the Reds appear to be the only team in major league history to have had two lefties with 100+ MPH velocity in their organization at the same time.)

I say "had" two sentences ago because Valiquette didn't pitch in 2011 due to injury, then made only 16 appearances in the Brewers system in 2012. I'm not sure the Pirates will be getting anything close to what the Reds had, which isn't to say that even that amounted to much -- even the hard-throwing Valiquette had fairly serious control problems. But what the heck. He'll have just turned 26 at the start of Spring Training. There's about an 80 percent chance he does nothing at all, and maybe about a 15 percent chance he makes the majors and has a worse career than Tyler Yates. But there's maybe an 0.001 percent chance he makes it to the majors, throws 101 MPH and pitches like a cross between Aroldis Chapman and Dr. Jackman's dark side. Oh yeah.

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