The Pirates are in agreement on a deal with infielder Wilmer Difo, reports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). The contract is pending a physical. It is a minor league deal, worth $1MM with incentives should Difo make the Major League roster, adds Murray.
Difo had spent the past decade-plus in the Nationals’ system, with Washington originally adding him as an international amateur. He has picked up big league playing time in each of the past six years, with the bulk of that work coming from 2017-18. All told, Difo has a .247/.309/.348 career slash line across 1,060 MLB plate appearances. He’s made contact at an above-average rate and drawn a decent number of walks, but Difo has well below-average exit velocities and has never been much of a power threat.
The bigger appeal is what Difo brings to the table defensively. The 28-year-old has plenty of middle infield experience, as well as some time at third base and a few innings in the outfield. Advanced metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved have generally pegged Difo as a slightly above-average defender up the middle. Difo has three-plus years of MLB service time, so he’d be controllable through 2023 via arbitration if he emerges as a long-term piece in Pittsburgh.