Pirates sign 5 minor-league free agents

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

The Pirates have signed five minor-league free agent pitchers: Collin Balester, Jacob Brigham, Jay Jackson, Josh Kinney (above) and Seth McClung. Brigham, Jackson and Kinney have also been extended big-league spring training invites.

With the Pirates' pitching depth, it's unlikely these signees will make an impact at the big-league level. Ballester had Tommy John surgery in June, and probably won't pitch until the summer. Brigham, who will be 26 in February, spent last season as a generic Triple-A starter for the Rangers' affiliate at Round Rock. Jackson, 26, struggled in three seasons as a starter with the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa affiliate, then moved down to Double-A with the Marlins last year and pitched well. Maybe there's some upside there if the Pirates use him as a reliever, but the fact that the Marlins moved him down last season probably tells us most of what we need to know.

Kinney will be 35 in March; he's pitched for the Cardinals, White Sox and Mariners and has generally held his own, although he doesn't have the best control and doesn't throw particularly hard. McClung has a big fastball (or at least he used to; I'm not sure how hard he throws now), but hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2009. He seems to have pitched in Mexico last year.

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