The Pirates have acquired left-hander Dillon Peters from the Angels in exchange for cash considerations, both clubs announced. The Angels designated Peters for assignment last week after signing outfielder Adam Eaton to a major league contract. To open roster space for Peters, Pittsburgh has designated reliever Kyle Crick for assignment.
Peters appeared in the majors each season from 2017-20, with the bulk of his experience coming in 2019. Altogether, he’s tossed 132 2/3 innings of 5.83 ERA/5.22 SIERA ball across 31 MLB appearances (including 24 starts). To date, Peters has struggled to miss bats at the big league level, striking out a below-average 16.7% of batters faced and generating swinging strikes on only 8.7% of his offerings (11.4% league average).
However, Peters has shown much better strikeout and walk numbers this season at Triple-A. Through 41 1/3 frames with the Angels’ top affiliate in Salt Lake, the 28-year-old has punched out a strong 26.8% of hitters while walking just 7.3% of opponents. Peters has been plagued by the home run ball this year (2.61 HR/9), but that’s also likely influenced by the extreme hitter-friendly environment of Triple-A West. Clearly, the Pirates’ front office was sufficiently intrigued by Peters’ improved minor league peripherals to take a low-cost flyer on him. He’s in his final option year, meaning he can move freely between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis for the rest of the season if he sticks on the 40-man roster.
It has been a difficult 2021 season for Crick, who has intermittently flashed high-leverage potential. A one-time top pitching prospect coming up through the Giants’ system, the righty moved to the bullpen in 2017. He made his big league debut with San Francisco that year, tossing 32 1/3 innings of 3.06 ERA ball. That offseason, the Giants shipped him to Pittsburgh alongside Bryan Reynolds in a now-regrettable deal to acquire Andrew McCutchen.
Crick pitched well in his debut campaign with Pittsburgh, working 60 1/3 relief innings with a 2.39 ERA and a 3.57 SIERA. He’s not consistently managed to follow up on that success, though, as his control has gone backwards in recent years. Crick struggled in 2019, then missed much of the abbreviated 2020 season dealing with shoulder and lat injuries.
This year, Crick has made 27 appearances totaling 24 1/3 innings. He’s tallied a 4.44 ERA with worse than average strikeout (19.6%), walk (17.8%) and groundball (36.7%) rates. Crick’s velocity on both his fastball and slider is down 2-3 miles per hour relative to his heyday, and he’s seen an accompanying dip in swinging strike rate.
The Pirates will have a week to trade Crick or expose him to waivers. As a player with between three and five years of major league service, he’d have the right to reject an outright assignment if he passes through waivers unclaimed. Doing so, however, would mean forfeiting what remains of his $800K salary. If another club acquires Crick via small trade or waivers (or if he remains in the Pittsburgh organization but pitches his way back onto the 40-man roster before the end of the year), he’d be controllable via arbitration through 2023.