The Pirates took a big step toward getting ready to compete in 2018, saving $600,000 by losing Juan Nicasio on waivers to the Phillies.
“It’s a move that gives us flexibility heading into the offseason,” said general manager Neal Huntington. “The extra funds can help us in a lot of ways. For instance, exercising Wade LeBlanc’s option is now on the table. His 4.99 ERA could serve as the foundation for continuing our success with the bullpen into another season.”
Asked how the Pirates would manage without their setup man, Huntington said, “We weren’t expecting Nicasio to pitch much the rest of this year. His role has been to protect leads in the eighth inning. Our analytics department has some recent research that shows you can’t have a lead if you don’t score, so Nicasio wasn’t likely to pitch in September. We’re currently looking at ways to compete without scoring. We’re always looking for ways to improve the team going forward.”
When asked whether he’d miss having Nicasio in a setup role, Clint Hurdle responded, “No, not really. He was kinda young for that role. You need somebody with some real seasoning. We expect to get Joaquin Benoit back tomorrow. He’s just getting to the stage where he’s old enough to take on the eighth-inning duties.”