Pirates Prospects has confirmed (sub. req’d) with the Pirates that right-hander Nick Kingham will have a fourth option for 2018. They’d already optioned him three times, so he’d have had to make the team out of spring training next year or go through waivers. Kingham was eligible for a fourth option because he was out of options after having played five or fewer full professional seasons. Because he missed nearly all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, that season didn’t count, leaving him with five full seasons.
The fourth option is important because there wasn’t likely to be an opening for Kingham at the beginning of next season. The Pirates don’t currently have a rotation opening, and Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault both probably rank ahead of Kingham on the depth chart. He also arguably needs more time in AAA. After missing the first month and a half of this season due to a spring ankle injury, but otherwise came back from the surgery without a problem. He logged 118.1 IP, including a rehab assignment, and had some periods of dominance, but he also had a very rough, six-week stretch around mid-season.