The Pirates have placed shortstop Gift Ngoepe on their 40-man roster. He would have been eligible for minor-league free agency if they hadn't. The move marks a career milestone for Ngoepe, who, all the way back in 2008, became the first black South African to sign with an MLB team.
I discussed the possibility of this move a couple weeks back. I'm not surprised that the Bucs have added Ngoepe, given their previously demonstrated willingness to use roster spots on guys who hit lightly but play good defense at shortstop. I like the move, too, given that Ngoepe is a great story and that his teammates seem to agree he's more than just a stat line. And while he's probably never going to hit that much and he'll be 26 in January, I still hope he might still be able to develop a little bit offensively, given his unusual background. He struggled to make contact in previous seasons, so his .257 batting average and reduced strikeout rate in the upper minors this year were significant steps forward.