The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve traded right-hander Allen Webster to the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. Webster was designated for assignment last week.
Webster, 26 in February, was once considered a consensus Top 100 prospect. The former 18th-round pick (Dodgers, 2008) has been involved in a pair of notable trades, first going to Boston from L.A. as part of the Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford blockbuster and then being traded to the D-Backs last winter in the Wade Miley deal.
Webster displayed a penchant for strikeouts early in his minor league career but has struggled more recently, both at the upper levels of the minors and in the Major Leagues with Boston and Arizona. Control, in particular, has become a problem for Webster, who has averaged 4.9 walks per nine innings in parts of three big league seasons and walked more batters (20) than he struck out (17) in 31 innings with the D-Backs this year. All told, Webster has a 6.13 ERA in 120 1/3 big league innings.
When his prospect status was at its peak, Baseball America wrote that Webster showed the “best pure stuff of anyone in the Red Sox system,” praising a fastball that ranged from 93-98 mph with good sink as well as a plus changeup. BA noted, however, that while Webster’s “outrageous” stuff came with top-of-the-rotation potential, an inability to command his fastball and questions about his confidence were enough to wonder if he’d ever reach that ceiling.
Certainly, the Pirates will hope that realization is still possible, though Webster needn’t become more than a solid middle reliever for this to look like a shrewd pickup in hindsight. He’s out of minor league options, however, so he’ll need to stick with the Bucs out of camp next spring or again be exposed to waivers.