The Pirates have made a pair of waiver claims, according to their transactions tracker at MLB.com. Catcher Ali Sánchez was claimed from the Tigers and right-hander Beau Sulser was claimed from the Orioles. Additionally, the Pirates designated catcher José Godoy for assignment.
Sánchez, 26 in January, has a very limited MLB track record, getting into five games with the Mets in 2020 and two games with the Cardinals in 2021. The Cards kept him in the minors this year, before he went to the Tigers on a waiver claim in June. The Tigers also stashed him in Triple-A as depth, before designating him for assignment last week.
He is known as a glove-first catcher but showed some encouraging signs at the plate this year, walking in 12% of his plate appearances. His batting line in 291 trips to the plate this year was .262/.354/.389 for a wRC+ of 101, or 1% above league average.
The Bucs have a fairly wide open catching mix for next year, Jason Delay and Tyler Heineman getting the bulk of the work down the stretch in 2022. Neither of them hit much but they both posted strong defensive numbers. Delay hit .213/.265/.271 while Heineman slashed .217/.276/.268. They also have Zack Collins, though he spent more time at first base than behind the plate for Pittsburgh. Sánchez will be out of options next year and thus won’t be able to be sent to the minors without first being passed through waivers.
He seems to have replaced Godoy, 28, in the club’s catching plans. Godoy got into 10 MLB games this year between the Twins and Pirates, spending the bulk of his time in Triple-A. He only hit .197/.272/.299 down on the farm for the Twins but a much better .333/.357/.590 in Indianapolis. Still, it seems that wasn’t enough to hold onto a roster spot. Since he has been previously outrighted in his career, he would have the right to elect free agency if he passes through waivers again.
Sulser, 29 in May, began the year with the Pirates but went to the Orioles on a waiver claim in May. Between the two clubs, he threw 22 1/3 innings with a 3.63 ERA, 47.1% ground ball rate, 19.2% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate. In 56 2/3 Triple-A innings, he had a much stronger strikeout rate of 24.3%. He will still be optionable in 2023, meaning he can shuttled between Triple-A and the majors again next year.