The Pirates have claimed right-handed pitcher Parker Markel off waivers from the Mariners, per announcements from both clubs. Markel had previously been designated for assignment by the Mariners on July 23rd. To accommodate the addition of Markel to their 40-man roster, the Pirates have transferred righty Rookie Davis from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list; Markel will be optioned to Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis.
For the Pirates, Markel represents an intriguing, nearly cost-free addition to their organizational relief corps. For one thing, the 6’4 hurler is a graduate of Yavapai College–a community college in tiny Prescott, Ariz., which has produced several big leaguers, including Curt Schilling, Kirby Yates, Ken Giles, and both Willie and Kole Calhoun. That interesting bit of trivia aside, Markel’s play in AAA this year has offered some signs of a player who may end up as a useful MLB reliever.
Selected by the Rays in the 39th round of the 2010 draft, Markel toiled for nearly a decade in the minors before signing a minor league deal with Seattle this offseason. Subsequent stints in AA Arkansas and AAA Tacoma indicated a changed man: the formerly groundball-oriented Markel struck out 62 batters in 35.1 innings before receiving a big league audition with the M’s in May. Though he was thoroughly knocked around in that cup of coffee (and in a subsequent one-game July callup), Markel’s slider-based, suddenly overpowering repertoire could possibly aid the Pirates beleaguered bullpen in short order.