As a Rule 5 draft pick, the Pirates will have to offer Milbrath back to his previous organization, the Indians, if no one claims him on waivers. If a team does claim the 26-year-old Milbrath, it must commit to carrying him on its 25-man roster. Otherwise, he’d head back to the waiver wire and would have to be offered to Cleveland upon clearing.
The side-arming Milbrath struggled in camp during his spring training stint as a member of the Pirates, with whom he allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits and eight walks (with eight strikeouts) in 8 1/3 innings. He fared much better than that last year, which he divided between the Indians’ High-A and Triple-A affiliates, with a 3.02 ERA and 10.0 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings.
Leatherich, 27, joined the Pirates last September after they claimed him from the division-rival Cubs. He then got into six of the Pirates’ games, working 4 1/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts against two walks. Overall, Leathersich has tossed 16 2/3 frames of five-run ball in the bigs since debuting with the Mets in 2015. However, he hasn’t been nearly that effective over a much larger sample of work at the Triple-A level, where he has offset a sky-high strikeout rate (14.5 per nine) with an ugly walk rate (6.9) en route to a 4.68 ERA in 100 innings.