Veteran catcher Kevin Plawecki, who’s been in camp with the Pirates this spring as a non-roster invitee, has been informed he won’t make the club, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweets. The catcher’s locker has been emptied out, and John Perrotto of Pittsburgh Baseball Now writes that Plawecki will exercise the opt-out clause in his contract. Plawecki has an opt-out afforded to him as an Article XX(B) free agent (that is, a player with six-plus years of service who ended the preceding season on a Major League roster or injured list). The formal date for that opt-out is tomorrow, but it’s possible the Bucs gave him the courtesy of allowing him to step away sooner in order to have more time to search for a new opportunity.
Plawecki, 32, went 4-for-17 with a pair of doubles, no walks and two strikeouts in limited time with the Pirates this spring. He’s coming off a 2022 season in which he batted .220/.286/.286 with eight doubles in 186 plate appearances between the Red Sox and Rangers.
A veteran of eight big league seasons, Plawecki is a lifetime .235/.313/.341 hitter in the Majors. He’s primarily operated as a backup throughout his career. Plawecki drew plus grades for his defense and framing early in his career, but his framing has been closer to average over the past couple years and Statcast has dinged his blocking skills as below-average in that time. Plawecki has a strong reputation both in the clubhouse and for his work with pitchers; both Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill expressed frustration and disappointment to WEEI’s Rob Bradford last year following the Red Sox’ decision to release Plawecki late in the year.
For the Pirates, subtracting Plawecki from camp likely means either Tyler Heineman or Jason Delay will be the backup to starter Austin Hedges. Neither has hit particularly well this spring — Heineman is 1-for-17, Delay is 2-for-12 — but both appeared in at least 52 games with Pittsburgh last season and are already familiar with the pitching staff. Neither player is currently on the 40-man roster.
So basically the Pirates are saying they know the two backups suck, but they are our suck.
While all of them are defense-first catchers, get rid of the guy that 4 hits in favor of the guys who combined for 3. Makes perfect sense. Cut the guy that has a reputation for being a good clubhouse leader simply because others have a better understanding of the staff as a whole. By mid-June it’s moot anyway since Endy will be up and taking over the position.
You are way over analyzing 4 hits vs 2 hits or 3. You have zero idea who the hits were off of, what the situation was etc.
Delay held his own at the end of last season.
Plawecki being called a “defense first” catcher is a bit of a stretch. He may receive the ball well but he couldn’t throw out runners trying to steal last year with the smaller bases. Losing distance between the bases with the larger ones this year it’s doubtful he’d be able to throw out anyone.
You think this has something to do with Endy?
Endy comes up to play every day not be a backup.
I would like to think so, Kevin would be the odd man out and Edny maybe up before June. Giving Kevin the chance to find another job would be a player friendly move.
do not know if that is the case.
@joew – your post makes the most sense. Plawecki is a useful #2 catcher, so it was a courtesy to him to let him try to get a job elsewhere. The Pirates already have 2 AAAA catchers and the one who gets the #2 job will be gone in two months tops.
Endy won’t see MLB action until after the trade deadline when Hedges is either traded or released
I was thinking the Pirates would want Hedges to mentor Rodriguez for the remainder of the season after Endy comes up. It seems unlikely that he’d be released with a $5mil contract. A trade wouldn’t be out of the question, though. It’s odd how poor Hedges’ contact skills are, considering he has some pop. He’s hit double-digit HRs in 4 seasons.
Who is Endy? I thought Henry Davis was the Pirates future catcher.
Endy Rodriguez was behind Henry Davis after Davis was selected 1st in the draft, but Endy has developed more quickly and has passed Davis. Look up Endy’s minor league stats from 2022 when you get a chance. They’re pretty amazing.
Here you go. I’ll save you some time.
39 doubles, 4 triples, 25 homers, 95 rbi, 92 runs, 4 stolen bases, .323 ba, .407 obp, .590 slug, .997 ops. This was across 3 levels, A+, AA, & AAA, and his numbers actually improved at each level. Real deal dude.
Endy has been a superstar quality in the MiLB with decent defense. Davis has acceptable defense but hasn’t wowed in the MiLB but still good.
Decent possibility they split time at catcher, OF and DH. I’d be giving Davis a bit of time at first to see how he does there.
I would be testing out Davis at 1st as well. He’s a big guy and a big target.
Endy could be up mid may depending on how he does and how the MLB players are doing. I’d like to see him down through June just for some more time to polish up his defense.
Pirates are only concerned with helping their young pitchers. Bat doesn’t matter.
I wonder if he has his next team already lined up.
Could be. I doubt he stays a free agent for long once he opts out
He wasn’t in high demand so unless there have been some injuries his future is wide open.
There have been. The A’s and Diamondbacks have both seen their backup Catchers go down and it’s possible that a team that had an unresolved competition at backup Catcher could add him to the mix
For sure. Just haven’t paid attention or noticed injuries. Good for him. If catchers aren’t dfa hard this week he could definitely find work. He has some bat and experience. I believe the pirates are more interested in framing, throwing out runners, and developing young pitchers. I think they liked their guys but Rich Hill gave an endorsement and gm liked it.
No matter how you slice it PIT is going to be getting nothing offensively this year from the catching position. You can expect Hedges to deliver a sub .200 BA, but he’ll give you decent defense.
probably, that will likely change if/when Edny gets the call.
No worries. Given that the NPB league is the best in the world (World Champions), he’ll probably want to play over there anyway. Why waste your time with AAAA level baseball when you can play at the top level in Japan.
This is already getting OLD, YORK.
You know, if Error in Judgement and a few of his (non injured) teammates finally show up for Team USA, I mean they are the Yankees after all, then maybe Japan doesn’t win? But, as we already knew, they don’t give a crap about no stinking WBC. It’s all about not getting injured.
When the pressure was on, he couldn’t handle the post season games which actually had good pitching.
If USA was passionate about it and if they could get a few of their many elite pitchers to show up they would be massive favorites. Even then any team with mostly MLB caliber talent could beat them in a single game. If they played the championship again the USA could win. Pretty much a coin flip. DR PR MEX VEN could easily beat JAP USA in single game. Pirates Rockies could beat them.
:Well, there is the MUTE button if you don’t want to read my posts. I’m not forcing you to read them.
Jason Delay is a decent backup provided one of the catching prospects is up and contributing by the end of the season.
My guess is aaa depth but didn’t watch any spring so maybe he impressed. Heineman stayed with the club so he must have liked his chances and understood he would have to wait for 40 man space.
This is undoubtedly with the thought that Endy Rodriguez is probably a mid season callup. They chose the cheaper alternative as a backup.
Bob would go cheaper option no matter what the minor league depth looked liked. Just ask Tony Wolters.
Endy Rodriguez will mysteriously is still not as good at baseball as Austin Hedges. It makes sense if you don’t think about it.
Austin Hedges is the best defensive catcher in baseball. Endy Rodriguez played the first half of last season in single A at Greensboro.
So it’s no mystery at all that Hedges is the better option to begin the season as the starter in MLB while Endy gets his reps in AAA with Delay or Heineman backing up in Pittsburgh.
Yup. 2 months in the minors will turn Endy from “not good enough to supplant Austin Hedges” into “totally awesome.”
The idea that extra few months in the minors somehow helps anything is silly. Endy will be doing exactly the same thing at AAA that he would be doing in Pittsburgh. The Pirates aren’t winning anything, so who cares about theoretical growing pains?
This is purely salary suppression. Not a problem for me – my salary is unaffected. But it is just silly accepting at face value the idea of an extra 2 months at AAA makes a shred of difference. Silly.
So in order to financially reward a small sample of minor league greatness by one catching prospect, you expect the Pirates to jeopardize the career development of an entire pitching staff?
Yup. I surely do.
Very, very, very silly.
And yet, there it is. Surely you are always perfect in all things 🙂
I doubt he is best defensive catcher in baseball. Top 15 sure. Maybe top 10. If you said top 5 I would have ignored it. I don’t see Cleveland not keeping the best defensive catcher in baseball so they can add offense.
Hedges didn’t finish in the AL top 3 for gold glove, so not only is he NOT the best defensive catcher in baseball, he wasn’t even the best in his league. But no matter how good he is defensively, his lack of offensive production will make you forget about that real quick. Black hole in the batting order.
Delay held his own last year and most likely provided way more than management expected, I’m guessing he will be awarded the back up role.
Also, I would like no mention of Blake Sabol. Thanks.