The Pirates have transferred righty Clay Holmes from the 10-day injured list to the 45-day injured list, per Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His spot on the 40-man roster goes to Nick Tropeano, who was claimed off waivers earlier today.
Holmes has been out since July 28 with a forearm strain. He has to spend 45 days on the IL from the date of his initial placement — not from the date he’s transferred to the 45-day list — so there’s technically still time for him to return late in the year. However, Mackey notes that the move to the 45-day IL is expected to end Holmes’ season.
Holmes, 27, pitched just 1 1/3 innings this season before being placed on the IL. The Pirates selected him in the ninth round of the same draft that they took Gerrit Cole first overall. Holmes was expected to be a tough sign out of high school and indeed received a $1.2MM bonus to forgo his commitment to Auburn at the time. He ranked among Pittsburgh’s top 30 prospects for each of the next eight seasons, per Baseball America.
To this point, however, he’s yet to find his footing in the Majors. Holmes had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and missed the entire season as well as the bulk of the 2015 campaign. He’s had control issues in the upper minors since but managed to post solid ERA marks. However, he’s appeared in 47 big league games and been knocked around for a 5.91 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 6.8 BB/9 through 77 2/3 innings. He’s kept the ball on the ground at a whopping 59.2 percent rate, limited homers well (0.81 HR/9) and averaged 94.5 mph on his oft-used sinker in the big leagues. But his penchant for free passes and hit batters (11) have prevented him from establishing himself as a reliable option.
Holmes is out of minor league options, meaning the Bucs will have somewhat of a decision on their hands over the winter. He’ll have to break camp with the club in 2021 or else be designated for assignment. If the club doesn’t expect Holmes to be on its Opening Day roster in 2021, it’s possible he’ll be outrighted early in the offseason as a means of opening some 40-man roster flexibility over the course of the winter. Holmes, however, isn’t yet eligible for arbitration, so the Pirates could also keep him around for some added pitching depth.