The Pirates have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Brian Goodwin, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter). He’ll be invited to Major League Spring Training. Goodwin will earn a $1.6MM salary with up to $900K in bonuses if he earns a roster spot, according to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic (on Twitter).
Goodwin, 30, was the No. 34 overall pick in the 2011 draft but never cemented himself with his original organization, the Nationals, despite a few productive stints. He was eventually traded to the Royals and later claimed by the Angels off waivers — enjoying a fair bit of success in both spots. The Angels traded him to the Reds at last summer’s deadline, however, and Goodwin’s bat cratered in Cincinnati, where he batted just .163/.236/.357 in a tiny sample of 55 plate appearances. The Reds non-tendered him in December.
Setting aside that ugly stint in Cincinnati, though, Goodwin has been a productive big league hitter more often than not. He’s a .250/.317/.455 hitter overall, and as recently as 2019 he slashed .262/.326/.470 in near-regular playing time with the Angels (136 games, 458 plate appearances).
Goodwin doesn’t have particularly strong defensive ratings and probably won’t be seeing much (if any) time in center field with the Bucs. He’s best deployed in a corner, which the Bucs can certainly accommodate. Bryan Reynolds, Anthony Alford, Cole Tucker and Gregory Polanco are the likeliest names to vie for outfield time in Pittsburgh at the moment, though the Pirates will jump at any chance they’re provided to shed the remainder of Gregory Polanco’s contract. Alford has yet to establish himself at the MLB level, while Reynolds will be seeking a rebound after a disastrous follow-up to his brilliant rookie showing. Tucker, meanwhile is a converted shortstop who’ll need to earn a job as himself.
Based on his track record and the dearth of established outfield talent on the rebuilding Pirates’ roster, Goodwin seems to have a good chance at both cracking the roster and earning a fair bit of playing time. If he does indeed make the roster, the Pirates would be able to control him through the 2022 season via arbitration. Of course, if he makes the team and rebounds at the plate, he’ll immediately become a potential summer trade piece for a Pirates club that will be looking to move any and all short-term assets for additional prospect depth.