The Pirates have claimed outfielder Anthony Alford off waivers from the Blue Jays. Alford was designated for assignment by Toronto last week.
Alford is still only 26 years old, and was still garnering top-60 prospect buzz as recently as the 2018 preseason. Over nine pro seasons, however, Alford’s production has been inconsistent, though his development has been hampered by multiple injuries. Alford has a .265/.358/.393 slash line over 2098 career plate appearances in the minors, along with 34 homers and 114 stolen bases (out of 146 chances). At the big league level, Alford has appeared in each of the last four seasons, though he has played in only 46 total games and amassed 75 total plate appearances (with only a .454 OPS over that small sample size).
The Bucs are hoping that a change of scenery can help unlock Alford’s potential, and it’s possible Alford could immediately jump onto the Pirates’ roster as a backup outfielder. With the trade deadline just around the corner, it also isn’t out of the question that Alford could see more playing time if Pittsburgh opted to move another outfielder in a future deal.