6:34pm: Southpaw Wade LeBlanc is also on irrevocable waivers, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. LeBlanc is earning just $750K this year and can be controlled next year via arbitration or a $1.25MM club option (with a $50K buyout).
The 33-year-old lefty has thrown 61 1/3 innings on the season, working to a 4.99 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. He has surrendered ten long balls in that span. As has been the case for most of his career, LeBlanc has posted reverse platoon splits, with lefty batters hammering him and righties managing only a .234/.288/.418 slash.
6:14pm: The Pirates have placed right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio on outright waivers, according to a report from Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Unlike revocable trade waivers, outright waivers cannot be rescinded — meaning that any team can simply claim Nicasio at this point.
That’s a surprising decision, at first glance. Nicasio, who’ll soon turn 31, has been nothing shy of outstanding this year. Over sixty frames, he owns a 2.85 ERA with sixty strikeouts against 18 walks. He’s also throwing harder than ever before, averaging 95.8 mph with his fastball while working in high-leverage spots.
On the other hand, the Bucs have now slipped so far in the standings — eight games out of a postseason spot entering action today — that there’s just no realistic hope for the team to contend. Nicasio is still set to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $600K, as Brink notes, after avoiding arbitration for $3.65MM last fall.
Surely, the club would prefer to get something for Nicasio via trade; MLBTR’s Steve Adams ranked him second among remaining August trade candidates a few days ago. But it could well be that Nicasio was claimed and then pulled back from revocable waivers earlier this month. In that event, it makes good sense for the club to simply hope to find a taker for the salary, though it’s somewhat curious that the team did not utilize irrevocable trade waivers (rather than outright waivers) in case he does clear.
It seems reasonable to expect multiple teams to place claims on Nicasio. Because Nicasio is on outright waivers, rather than irrevocable trade waivers, teams can claim him in order of record (worst to first) regardless of which league they are in. (Otherwise, he’d have been available first to N.L. clubs.)