The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve traded recently designated infielder Phil Gosselin to the Pirates in exchange for minor league righty Frank Duncan. Right-hander Nefi Ogando has been designated for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster, the Pirates announced. (Gosselin was designated for assignment earlier in the week when the D-backs signed Daniel Descalso to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018.)
The 28-year-old Gosselin originally came up with the Braves back in 2013, but he’s spent the majority of the past two seasons with the Diamondbacks. Primarily a second baseman, Gosselin batted .283/.338/.409 in 316 plate appearances with the D-backs over the past two seasons and is a .283/.331/.385 hitter in 501 Major League plate appearances.
Gosselin grades out as a fairly solid second baseman from a defensive standpoint, though despite the fact that it’s been his most frequent position in the Majors, he’s still logged only 487 innings there. He’s also spent some time at shortstop, third base, first base and in the outfield corners as a Major Leaguer.
Gosselin should get a chance to make the Pirates’ roster out of Spring Training, though he could vying for the same utility infield job as the out-of-options Alen Hanson. Hanson’s status could complicate matters for Gosselin, as he still has two minor league options remaining and wouldn’t need to be exposed to waivers in order to be sent down. Even if Gosselin isn’t a fixture on the roster in 2017, the Bucs have the ability to control him through at least the 2020 season, as he has just two years, 85 days of Major League service time to this point in his career.
Duncan, 25, reached Triple-A for the first time in 2016 and posted a combined 2.34 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 55.7 percent ground-ball rate between Double-A and Triple-A. Despite those gaudy numbers, Duncan drew a somewhat lukewarm review from Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen in his review of the Pirates’ farm system. Longenhagen noted that Duncan “fills the zone and eats innings, but his stuff (sinker in the upper-80s, fringe-average breaking ball, below-average changeup) is that of an up-and-down arm more than a big-league mainstay.”
Losing his spot on the roster as a result of this move is the 27-year-old Ogando, whom Pittsburgh claimed off waivers from the Marlins back on Dec. 23. There’s plenty to like about Ogando, who has averaged better than 95 mph on his fastball and induced grounders on 57.6 percent of the balls put into play against him in his brief MLB sample of work (19 2/3 innings, 3.66 ERA). However, despite Ogando’s ability to overpower hitters with his fastball, he’s fanned just 10 hitters in the Majors to go along with 10 walks.
A look at Ogando’s minor league production reveals a similar tale; though he throws in the mid- to upper-90s, he’s averaged 7.4 K/9 in his minor league career and just 7.0 per nine in Triple-A. Walks have been a persistent issue for him in the minors as well, as he’s consistently averaged between four and five walks per nine innings pitched. Ogando has changed hands on waivers three times in the past 14 months, going from Philadelphia to Miami to Pittsburgh, so it’s possible that another club will want to try its hand at harnessing his intriguing velocity.