Righty Brent Honeywell Jr. has agreed to a minor league deal with the Pirates, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com (on X). He’ll get a non-roster invitation to big league camp and will be paid at a $1.25MM rate if he cracks the MLB roster.
A former top prospect with the Rays, Honeywell logged his first extended MLB action at age 28 last season. He inked a major league contract with the Padres over the offseason. Honeywell broke camp with San Diego and held a roster spot until the trade deadline. He logged 46 2/3 innings through 36 appearances, working to a 4.05 ERA. That came with a modest 20.6% strikeout rate and an unspectacular 9.8% walk percentage.
San Diego’s deadline pickups squeezed Honeywell off the 40-man roster. The Friars lost him via waivers to the White Sox. He pitched four times with Chicago, was tagged for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings, and was cut loose. Honeywell cleared waivers after his second designation and finished the year in Triple-A. He chose minor league free agency at season’s end.
A horrible series of injuries — a 2018 Tommy John procedure, ’19 elbow fracture, 2020 nerve decompression surgery and another elbow fracture in 2022 — sidetracked Honeywell in his climb through the minors. While he didn’t turn in great results as a rookie, there’s surely some relief that he made it through the ’23 campaign without any trips to the injured list. He’ll try to crack the middle relief group in Pittsburgh to establish himself at the MLB level.
The Bucs have David Bednar, Aroldis Chapman, Colin Holderman, Ryan Borucki, Carmen Mlodzinski, Dauri Moreta and the out-of-options Roansy Contreras as strong bets to open the season in the bullpen. There might not be a ton of room in the season-opening group, but the Bucs will want to build their minor league depth. Ben Heller, Hunter Stratton and swingman Wily Peralta are also in camp as non-roster invitees. Honeywell is out of options, meaning the Pirates would have to keep him in the majors or DFA him if he earns a big league look at any point.