Infielder/outfielder JT Riddle has rejected an outright assignment from the Pirates in favor of free agency, as indicated on the Triple-A International League transactions page. Pittsburgh designated Riddle for assignment last week, and as a player with more than three years of MLB service, he has the right to opt for the open market after being outrighted from the roster.
Pittsburgh signed Riddle to a one-year deal worth $850K over the winter, but the former Marlins utilityman scuffled through the least-productive season of his career — albeit in a small sample of just 63 plate appearances. As a Pirate, Riddle managed just a .149/.174/.224 slash with a homer, two doubles and a stolen base. Despite only playing 23 games with the Bucs, Riddle appeared at all four infield positions and all three outfield slots, demonstrating some of the defensive versatility that appealed to the Pirates in the first place.
Riddle, who’ll turn 29 next week, was a career .229/.269/.368 hitter with 18 home runs, 29 doubles and five triples in 718 plate appearances with Miami prior to signing in Pittsburgh this winter. He’ll likely find some minor league offers and Spring Training invites this winter due to that versatility and his career .284/.321/.457 slash in parts of five Triple-A seasons.