Why change when you can have more of the same?
This afternoon, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said team sources indicate that the Pittsburgh Pirates are bringing back catcher Tyler Heineman in 2023.
Source: Pirates bringing back Tyler Heineman. Would imagine on a minor league deal.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) December 12, 2022
Played 52 games in Pittsburgh last year, hitting .211 with a .531 OPS. Makes sense if he or Jason Delay winds up as the other half of Perez/Barnhart/whomever, serving as bridge to Davis/Endy.
Mackey later added that it is a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Per Mackey’s tweet, Heineman did next-to-nothing on offense last season with the Pirates, slashing .211/.277/.254 in a season-high 52 games. He was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays early in the season to add depth to an anemic catching room.
The logistics in bringing Heineman back, in any form, is due to his defense, which many have touted before.
Tyler Heineman catches Alex Verdugo attempting to steal 2nd.— MLB Caught Stealing (@MLB_CS) August 19, 2022
August 18, 2022 pic.twitter.com/fMHOY7JLmo
According to Baseball-Reference, Heineman finished 2022 with a 32 caught stealing percentage, nabbing 11 of 34 base stealers while allowing 23 stolen bases. .
Heineman could be a possible back-up option to... well... who knows. Given their rate of free agent signings as of late, he will probably be their Opening Day catcher.
Meanwhile, other NL Central teams are bringing in actual talent.