The Pirates have signed left-hander Michael Plassmeyer to a minor league deal, according to the transactions section of the southpaw’s MLB.com profile page. It’s not clear whether or not the deal includes an invite to big league Spring Training next month.
Plassmeyer, 27, was a fourth-round pick by Seattle in the 2018 draft. Shortly thereafter, the lefty was included in the five-player trade between the Mariners and the Rays that sent Mike Zunino to Tampa Bay. Plassmeyer dominated the lower levels of the minors with the Rays, pitching to a 1.91 ERA in 25 appearances across three levels with a 21.2% strikeout rate in 132 innings of work. Unfortunately for the lefty, his progress would be delayed by the minor league season in 2020 being cancelled and another trade as he was shipped to San Francisco in exchange for Matt Wisler and cash during the 2021 season.
Upon joining the Giants, Plassmeyer struggled in 16 appearances at the Double-A level with a 5.08 ERA in 79 2/3 innings of work. Those struggles in the San Francisco farm system continued into the 2022 season as the lefty posted a 7.38 ERA in 11 appearances at the Triple-A level. The southpaw’s difficulties with the Giants came to an end midseason when he was traded for the third time in his career, this time to the Phillies. His season took a turn for the better down the stretch at the Triple-A level with Philadelphia, as he posted a 2.41 ERA in 82 innings of work across 16 starts. Plassmeyer’s strong results led to a call up to the majors late in the 2022 season that saw him post a 3.68 ERA in 7 1/3 innings of work across two appearances.
Back in the minor leagues in 2023, Plassmeyer spent much of the summer on the injured list and struggled when he was able to take the mound, with a 5.05 ERA in 16 appearances at the Triple-A level. His second cup of coffee in the majors didn’t go as well as the first, as Plassmeyer allowed ten runs (nine earned) on eight hits and three hit batsmen while striking out just four in 3 2/3 innings of work. Plassmeyer hit minor league free agency on the heels of that difficult season, and will now travel across Pennsylvania to join the Pirates.
The southpaw joins a Pittsburgh organization in need of pitching depth with each of JT Brubaker, Mike Burrows, and Johan Oviedo currently rehabbing Tommy John surgery. While Plassmeyer seems unlikely to break into a rotation mix that currently features Mitch Keller, Marco Gonzales, Martin Perez, Bailey Falter, Roansy Contreras, and Luis Ortiz, he figures to provide the Pirates with a depth option capable of pitching both out of the bullpen and rotation headed into the 2024 campaign.