The Pirates announced that they have designated right-hander Yoervis Medina for assignment. Medina’s DFA will clear a spot on the 40-man roster for fellow right-hander A.J. Schugel, whom the team claimed off waivers from the Mariners organization earlier this afternoon.
Medina spent most of the 2015 season in the Cubs organization after being acquired in exchange for Welington Castillo. Medina delivered strong results for the 2013-14 Mariners, pitching to a combined 2.81 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and a 53.5 percent ground-ball rate before taking a significant step backwards in 2015. This past season, he logged a 4.71 ERA with an unsightly 16-to-11 K/BB ratio in 21 innings for the Mariners and Cubs. Notably, his fastball velocity, which had averaged 94.8 mph in 2014, sat a full two miles per hour lower at 92.8 in 2015, and his ground-ball rate dipped to 36.8 percent. Medina’s struggles weren’t confined to the Major Leagues, either. He also recorded 40 innings of Triple-A work between the two teams but limped to a 5.62 ERA with 8.8 K/9 against 5.0 BB/9.
The Pirates had claimed Medina in late December, but since his acquisition they’ve added Neftali Feliz on a big league deal and now also claimed Schugel, both of whom surpassed Medina on the depth chart. Another club could look at Medina’s track record and see an arm with some upside that can be controlled for another four seasons, though his loss of velocity and Triple-A struggles certainly give teams plenty of reason for pause.