The Pirates announced several roster moves today, selecting the contract of right-hander Quinn Priester and recalling prospects Endy Rodríguez and Liover Peguero, moves which were reported on over the weekend. In corresponding moves, they optioned catcher Jason Delay, right-hander Cody Bolton and outfielder Josh Palacios. In order to open a 40-man roster spot for Priester, outfielder Travis Swaggerty was designated for assignment.
Swaggerty, 25, was the club’s first round draft pick in 2018, getting selected with the 10th overall pick. He was considered one of their top prospects during his time in the minors but encountered some obstacles on his path to the majors. He suffered a dislocated shoulder in 2021 that required surgery, limiting him to 12 games that year. When combined with the minor leagues being cancelled by the pandemic in 2020, he essentially missed two whole years of normal development.
Those setbacks aside, the club still didn’t want to risk losing him in the 2021 Rule 5 draft and gave him a 40-man roster spot that November. He was able to make his major league debut last year but took just nine trips to the plate in five games. He spent most of the year in Triple-A, hitting .254/.348/.399 at that level for a wRC+ of 102.
Here in 2023, Swaggerty has spent the entire year in the minors but has only been able to play 22 games. A report from Andrew Destin of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from last month detailed how Swaggerty has been battling vertigo and migraines while his wife Peyton has been dealing with a rare and painful blood disease caused by a bite from a rabid raccoon. Swaggerty has made frequent trips to the IL in the minors this year, having played in just one game in the past six weeks.
The Bucs have fully embraced their youth movement this year, calling up Priester, Rodríguez and Peguero today, in addition to recent promotions of players like Henry Davis, Jared Triolo and Nick Gonzales. The unfortunate side effect of those aggressive promotions is that they will bump Swaggerty off the roster.
They will now have one week to trade the young outfielder or pass him through waivers. It will be interesting to see how much interest he will receive from other clubs around the league. On the one hand, he’s a former first-round pick and was a notable prospect not too long ago. But he’s faced so many difficulties and hasn’t seemed to be in peak form in quite a while. He does have two option years, one of which he’s burning here in 2023. If some club thinks they can help him figure out the migraine issues and get him back on track, he can still be sent to the minors for another season.