The Pirates announced Monday that they’ve signed catcher Joe Hudson to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training.
Hudson, 29, spent the 2020 season with the Mariners and appeared in nine big league games, going 3-for-17 with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in 20 trips to the plate. That marked Hudson’s third straight season with at least a taste of the Major Leagues, although both the nine games and 20 plate appearances were career-highs for the journeyman backstop. Overall, he’s a .167/.219/.200 hitter in a minuscule sample of 33 plate appearances.
Beyond his limited big league time, Hudson has logged 102 games at the Triple-A level, batting .249/.323/.411 with 13 homers, 14 doubles and a triple in 383 plate appearances. He’s thwarted a whopping 43 percent of the 505 stolen base attempts against him in the minors since being drafted by the Reds in the sixth round back in 2012, and Baseball Prospectus gives him generally strong marks both in terms of pitch framing and pitch blocking.
Jacob Stallings and Michael Perez are the only two catchers on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster at the moment, and they lack an MLB-ready prospect behind the dish. Hudson joins fellow non-roster invitee Andrew Susac and 2017 fourth-rounder Jason Delay as depth options for the Bucs who could see action in Triple-A. Delay hasn’t played above Double-A yet and struggled there in 2019, hitting .234/.286/.398 in 67 games.