The Pirates announced Friday that they’ve claimed right-hander Aaron Slegers off waivers from the Twins and designated right-hander Dario Agrazal for assignment. Slegers himself was recently designated for assignment by Minnesota to clear 40-man roster space for newly signed Nelson Cruz.
Slegers, a towering righty, stands at 6’10” and has pitched 29 innings for the Twins across the past two seasons but struggled to a 5.90 ERA in that time. Although Slegers hasn’t had much experience at the MLB level, he’s had quite a bit of success in Triple-A, where he’s pitched to a 3.54 ERA in 233 2/3 innings with 6.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and average or better ground-ball tendencies. The Pirates surely found it appealing that the 26-year-old Slegers has a pair of minor league options remaining as well, which should give them some additional roster depth and flexibility in 2019, should he stick with the organization.
Agrazal, 24, has had some success in the minors himself, but having split the 2018 season between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, he’s further from the Majors than Slegers. This past season, the Panamian-born Agrazal pitched to a combined 3.65 ERA at those two levels, averaging an outstanding 1.2 walks per nine innings pitched but also a sub-optimal 5.4 strikeouts per nine. Agrazal has pounded the strike zone throughout his minor league career (1.3 BB/9) and possesses a low-90s heater that generates enough sink to produce consistently strong ground-ball rates. He’s never been one to miss many bats, however, which likely limits his appeal to the Bucs (and perhaps to other clubs throughout the league). The Pirates will have a week to trade Agrazal or run him through outright waivers. If he clears waivers, he can remain in the organization and be sent to the minors without a 40-man roster spot.