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Pirates designate Willy Garcia for assignment

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With Brady Dragmire already having been Double Dragmired, the Pirates cleared roster space for Ivan Nova by designating outfielder Willy Garcia for assignment.

Garcia has always been intriguing due to a combination of good power and the best outfield arm in the team’s farm system. He’s always been held back, though, by an extreme lack of patience, with a career walk rate of just 5.5%. Garcia got on the 40-man roster with an encouraging 271/311/478 line in AA in 2014, then returned there and posted a 314/353/441 line in the first half of 2015. He continued to show power potential after moving up to AAA in the second half, batting 246/285/424. In 2016, though, he took a significant step backward, as the power disappeared and he batted just 245/293/366 while spending all year at Indianapolis. He did not get a September callup, making the DFA move unsurprising.

The late announcement of the move — Nova officially signed four days ago — may have been a product of the holidays. It’s also possible that the Pirates were trying to clear a spot by trading Antonio Bastardo or Tony Watson. (There’s a time frame for making moves like this that I think may be tied to the three-day reporting period when a player is traded in-season, but I’m not totally sure.) It does appear, though, that the Pirates would strongly prefer to retain all the players they currently have on the 40-man roster, as we saw when they took the opportunity to reacquire Dragmire. It seems unlikely that they’re through making additions, so there could be a stepped-up effort to deal a reliever in the coming days. Of course, they still may retain Garcia, as his 2016 struggles won’t make him an attractive candidate for a waiver claim.