The Pirates have agreed to a minor league contract with left-hander Robbie Erlin, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. The Apex Baseball client will be in Major League camp this spring and would lock in a $1.5MM salary if he makes the club. The deal also contains an extra $100K worth of incentives.
Erlin, 29, has 313 innings of big league experience, all coming with the Padres from 2013-19. He’s worked both out of the rotation (38 career starts) and the bullpen (68 relief outings) and compiled a career 4.57 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9 and a 43.4 percent ground-ball rate. Notably, his career ERA as a reliever (3.86) is more than a run better than his earned run average out of the rotation (4.98).
This past season, Erlin showed above-average spin on his fastball and curve, and it’s also worth pointing out that his career FIP (3.59) is nearly a full run lower than his ERA. Erlin has routinely been plagued by a below-average strand rate, and last year’s ugly 5.37 earned run average was in part impacted by a sky-high .373 average on balls in play.
The Pirates don’t have an established lefty in their bullpen at the moment, so Erlin will give the club some spring competition for Sam Howard and fellow non-roster southpaws Nik Turley and Brandon Waddell.