This past Thursday, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a pair of signings including outfielder Brian Goodwin and catcher Tony Wolters.
Both players agreed to minor league deals with an invite to Spring Training. If both players make the squad, each will earn just over $1 million.
Last season with the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds, Goodwin hit .215/.299/.417 with six home runs over 164 plate appearances. Although his strikeout rate (32.9 percent) was a career-high, so too was his walk rate (10.4 percent). For his career, his strikeout rate is 28.7 percent while his walk rate is 8.5 percent. Goodwin does have surprising pop. In 2019, he hit a career-high 17 home runs. That season, he was worth 1.8 fWAR. For his career, he has a 35.7 percent hard-hit rate which isn't terrible.
Defensively, the 30-year-old Goodwin can man all three outfield spots. Last season, he spent the majority of his time in centerfield. That said, although fast, Goodwin is not a great defender and may be better suited for a corner outfield role. If I had to choose between him and Brian Reynolds to be the team’s primary centerfielder, I would go with Reynolds. Overall though, I don’t hate this signing. In my opinion, Goodwin will end up being the team’s Opening Day left fielder.
Taking a look at Wolters, it is clear that in the past he was considered a defense-first catcher. In 2020 though, his defense was not great. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if he bounces back. With the bat, Wolters is terrible. There is no other way to say it. His career wRC+ is 57. Last season, he hit .230/.280/.270 over 109 plate appearances. The one positive in Wolters’ offensive game is the fact that he has a 9.9 percent career walk rate. That said, last season that rate fell to 5.5 percent. Once again, the season was short, so we’ll see.
This spring, Wolters will be competing with Michael Perez for the position of backup catcher. If I had to guess, Perez has a leg up on Wolters as far as that competition goes. Perez is currently on the 40-man roster and Wolters is not.