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Pirates sign three to minors deals

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MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Like every other team in MLB, the Pirates have made some minor league signings, specifically two: outfielder Eury Perez and right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom. Both received invitations to major league camp. The Pirates have now signed four players to minor league deals, the others being relievers Dan Runzler and Jason Stoffel. That’s actually a relatively small number, an indication that the Pirates have a lot of prospect depth at the upper levels . . . not that knowing as much will keep the trolls at bay.

Anyway, the 29-year-old Lindblom was briefly a Pirate two years ago. The team claimed him off waivers from Oakland, only to release him four days later to let him sign with a Korean team. He pitched well there as a starter in 2015, going 13-11, 3.56, with a 1.18 WHIP. In 2016, he was 10-12, 5.27, with a 1.53 WHIP. His 2016 numbers were very close to average in the high-offense KBO. Lindblom saw action in the majors from 2011-14, posting a 3.82 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 110 games with a 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 K/9. He throws about 92 mph as a reliever and relies a lot on a slider. Lindblom will probably serve as bullpen depth in AAA.

Perez, 26, got into 73 major league games with three teams from 2012-14, most of that coming with Atlanta in 2015. He has a 254/307/282 line in 156 plate appearances. In 336 AAA games, he has a line of 298/347/393. He’s very fast, with 324 career steals in the majors and minors. Perez should compete for a backup outfield job, although with Josh Bell, John Jaso, and Adam Frazier having experience there, and Alen Hanson having a little plus no options remaining, it seems unlikely that the Pirates will need a bench player who’s primarily an outfielder.

UPDATE: The Pirates also signed LHP Greg Williams to a minor league contract. Williams appears to be a classic flier, a near-27-year-old who throws in the mid-90s but has been undone by injuries. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and again in 2014, then had trouble getting healthy after the second one. He supposedly was still throwing 95-96 in an October workout.