The Pirates announced that they’ve signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The former Padres lefty hasn’t pitched since 2012 after having three seasons wiped out by a pair of Tommy John surgeries, but he could conceivably factor into the club’s rotation or bullpen picture.
Now 30 years old (31 in March), Luebke had an impressive rookie season back in 2011, logging a 3.29 ERA with 9.9 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 139 1/3 innings out of the San Diego rotation. That was enough for the former Padres front office regime to roll the dice on a potentially team-friendly contract of four years and $12MM plus a pair of club options. Had both options been exercised, the Padres would’ve controlled Luebke through the end of his first would-be free-agent year, and he’d have earned $27.75MM in total over the life of the deal. Unfortunately for both team and player, Luebke never got the chance to build on that strong rookie showing, as he pitched just 31 innings in 2012 before succumbing to injury. He’ll now look to follow the path of many other pitchers before him and breathe new life into his career as a member of the Pirates organization.