The Pirates have acquired right-hander Kyle Keller from the Angels in exchange for cash considerations, both teams announced. To create roster space, the Pirates noted that right-hander Edgar Santana has been designated for assignment.
Keller hit the DFA wire himself earlier this week, and the 27-year-old now finds himself traded for the second time in 15 months, after joining the Angels in a swap with the Marlins in January 2020. Keller has appeared in each of the last two seasons, with a 4.15 ERA over 13 MLB innings with Miami and Los Angeles, striking out 12 batters but also walking ten.
Working almost exclusively as a reliever throughout his pro career, Keller has a 3.53 ERA and 31.8% strikeout rate over 249 2/3 career innings in Miami’s farm system. Control wasn’t nearly as much of a problem in the minors (8.9% walk rate) was it was at the big league level for Keller, and the Pirates are hoping he can provide some bullpen depth for a pitching staff that has lost both some starting and relief candidates to injury in the early going.
Santana is no stranger to injuries, having undergone Tommy John surgery in September 2018. The rehab process cost Santana all of the 2019 season, and he then missed all of 2020 due to an 80-game PED suspension. As per the terms of the suspension, Santana still had to sit out the first 20 games of this season before being eligible to return to the field.
Before his career was put on pause, Santana delivered solid results in his first two MLB seasons. The right-hander posted a 3.31 ERA/3.77 SIERA over 84 1/3 innings out of Pittsburgh’s bullpen in 2017-18, with an impressive 6.8% walk rate but a below-average 21% strikeout rate.