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Pirates sign LHP Dan Runzler to minors deal

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates Prospects is reporting (sub. req'd) that the Pirates have signed 31-year-old lefthander Dan Runzler to a minor league contract.  Runzler pitched in parts of the 2009-12 seasons for the Giants, compiling a 3.86 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 3.81 xFIP in 89 games, all but one in relief.  During that time, he primarily threw a fastball that averaged about 95 mph.  His main secondary pitch was a slider.  He had an extreme platoon split, with a .545 opponents' OPS against left-handed hitters and .789 against right-handed hitters.  The Giants used him in a somewhat LOOGY-ish role, as he faced lefties 42% of the time (normal for a flat-out LOOGY is about 50%, occasionally higher) and threw only 70.2 IP in those 88 relief outings.  He missed both bats and the plate on a regular basis, walking 5.5 and striking out 9.7 per nine innings in his big league time.

Runzler has mostly struggled since 2012.  He spent 2013 and 2014 in AAA with the Giants, posting WHIPs of 1.82 and 1.60.  He spent parts of both 2015 and 2016 in Indy ball, while also appearing in 39 AAA games for Arizona in 2015 and 20 for Minnesota in 2016.  He posted ERAs of 5.26 and 5.82 in those stints.  The control problems continued throughout.  For his career in AAA, he has a 6.1 BB/9 and 9.5 K/9.  His K/9 was well into double digits at all other minor league levels.

Runzler figures to be AAA depth, with a longshot chance of appearing in Pittsburgh if he suddenly finds the plate.  Oddly, he'll be eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but it's hard to see that going anywhere.