The Pirates announced that they’ve signed free-agent right-hander Juan Nicasio to a one-year contract. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports had reported just minutes prior, on Twitter, that the two were nearing a deal, and now tweets that Nicasio will earn $3MM in the pact.
Nicasio, 29, quietly had a solid season working in relief for the Dodgers last year, though he still found himself non-tendered in early December. His lone season in Dodger blue saw him work to a 3.86 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and a 43.3 percent ground-ball rate in 58 1/3 innings. His first full season of relief work saw Nicasio’s fastball velocity jump from about 92 mph to an average of 95.1 mph, so he’ll add some heat to the Bucs’ bullpen at what figures to be a reasonable cost. Should renowned pitching coach Ray Searage be able to smooth out Nicasio’s control, he could be an excellent bargain at the back of Pittsburgh’s bullpen.
Beyond the encouraging results in the L.A. bullpen last year, Nicasio brings value to Pittsburgh by virtue of his service time; Nicasio has four years, 84 days of big league service, meaning that he’ll be controllable through the 2017 season via the arbitration process, should all go well in his new surroundings.