4:03PM: The Pirates have also released outfielder Dustin Fowler. Pittsburgh acquired Fowler in a trade with the A’s during the winter, and the outfielder posted a .434 OPS in 46 PA, marking Fowler’s first bit of big league action since the 2018 season. Fowler was outrighted to Triple-A in April and has since battled injuries for much of the season.
3:18PM: The Pirates selected the contract of outfielder Anthony Alford from Triple-A. In corresponding moves, Phillip Evans was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, while utilityman Erik Gonzalez was designated for assignment (Gonzalez had been on the injured list, and was reinstated before being DFA’ed).
Gonzalez has been out of action since July 2 due to a left oblique strain, and he had been wrapping up a minor league rehab assignment in Triple-A. Now, the 29-year-old could be potentially headed elsewhere after two-plus seasons with the Bucs. Gonzalez has been utilized all over the diamond in his 174 games in a Pittsburgh uniform, but hasn’t hit much, batting only .236/.268/.324 over 578 plate appearances since the start of the 2019 season.
While Gonzalez could remain in the organization after clearing waivers, it seems likely that the rebuilding Pirates want to give more big league playing time to less-experienced players like Alford. The former top prospect isn’t young (he just recently turned 27) but he has yet to earn a long look at the MLB level, appearing in each of the last five seasons but totaling only 62 games.
The Pirates claimed Alford off the Blue Jays roster in August 2020 but the change of scenery hasn’t unlocked anything for the outfielder, who has a .540 OPS in the small sample size of 42 PA with Pittsburgh. At Triple-A, however, Alford has been red hot, hitting .307/.420/.593 with 14 home runs over 226 PA for Indianapolis.