The Pirates have selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Chase De Jong, per a team announcement. Fellow righty Roansy Contreras has been optioned to create move on the active roster. Another righty, Luis Oviedo, was designated for assignment to create space on the 40-man roster. (Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke the news of De Jong’s selection and Contreras being optioned before the team announced the full slate of transactions.)
A second round pick of the Blue Jays in 2012, De Jong has become a journeyman, also spending time in the organizations of the Dodgers, Mariners, Twins, Astros and Pirates. He’s seen some MLB time in each of the last five seasons but only has 98 total innings under his belt. Last year was his most extensive look, as he made nine starts for the Bucs and logged 43 2/3 innings with a 5.77 ERA. Unfortunately, he was hit on the knee by a comebacker in July, leading to knee surgery and finishing his season.
At the end of the year, he was outrighted by the Pirates, elected free agency and re-signed on a minor league deal. In 13 Triple-A innings so far this season, he has a 2.08 ERA, 37.3% strikeout rate and 9.8% walk rate. De Jong is out of options and will need to stick on the club’s roster or else be designated for assignment. But if he can carry any that Triple-A performance to the majors, it would be a boon for Pittsburgh. The 28-year-old has just over a year of service time and could be controlled cheaply for years if he pitches well enough to hang onto his spot.
As for Oviedo, who turns 23 next month, he started his career in the Cleveland organization. In the 2020 Rule 5 draft, he was selected by the Mets and flipped to the Pirates. He lasted the full year on the big league club (apart from a rehab assignment), throwing 29 2/3 innings of 8.80 ERA ball, which allowed the Pirates to option him to the minors this year. He’s logged 3 2/3 innings between A-ball and Double-A so far this year. If any team were to claim him, he still has options and exactly one year of MLB service time.