After trading Starling Marte earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a flurry of low key signings.
Robbie Erlin, Derek Holland, Andrew Susac, and Charlie Tilson were all singed to minor league contracts while JT Riddle was signed to a major league deal.
Read more about the Erlin and Holland signings here. For more information on the other players added this week, stay right where you are.
JT Riddle: 2019 fWAR -0.6 - Riddle had spent parts of three seasons with the Miami Marlins before getting non-tendered earlier this winter. The 28-year-old can play a variety of positions including shortstop and all three outfield spots. Last season, he hit .189/.230/.371 with six home runs in 139 plate appearances. Something that peaked my interest was Riddle’s 43.3 percent hard hit rate in 2019, a ten percent jump from previous seasons. That being said, his strikeout rate (30.2 percent) jumped 10 percent from 2018 to 2019 as well. The best case scenario for Pirates is that Riddle can man the utility role while providing some occasional pop off the bench.
Andrew Susac - Susac did not appear in the majors in 2019 and has not had a positive fWAR since 2015. In Spring Training, he will compete with Luke Maile and John Ryan Murphy for the backup catcher spot. More than likely though, the 29-year-old will provide depth at the position if he chooses to stay with the organization post-spring. In 300 career plate appearances, Susac has hit .221/.283/.373 with seven dingers.
Charlie Tilson: 2019 fWAR -0.2 - Last season, Tilson appeared in 54 games with the Chicago White Sox where he hit .229/.293/.285 with one home run in 157 plate appearances. Tilson is what he is, a light hitting outfielder who can play all three spots. His strength is speed where FanGraphs gives him a 70 grade. Like Susac, Tilson more than likely won’t make the team. Ahead of him now are Bryan Reynolds, Gregory Polanco, Guillermo Heredia, and probably Jason Martin. Adding on that, it would surprise me if the Pirates didn’t add one more outfielder on a major league deal before the season starts.