NASHVILLE – With MLB’s annual Winter Meetings in full swing in Nashville, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Monday that they have signed six minor league free agents.
Infielder Cole Figueroa, outfielder Danny Ortiz and pitchers Wilfredo Boscan, Deolis Guerra, Curtis Partch and Robert Zarate signed on to join the Pirates, which includes an invitation to major league spring training camp. With these players signing minor league deals, it is possible that all six could see time with the Indianapolis Indians at some point in 2016.
Not all of these signings are unfamiliar with the Tribe, however, as Boscan and Guerra each played for Indianapolis in 2015.
Boscan was a big part of the Indians’ starting rotation last season, as he racked up 10 wins and posted an ERA of 3.07 in 126 innings pitched. Guerra, on the other hand, got off to such a great start in 2015 that he was called up to play for the Pirates by the end of June. The right-handed reliever delivered a 1.23 ERA in 25 appearances with the Tribe before giving up 12 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings pitched in the majors.
The rest of Pittsburgh’s signings have taken on the Indians in the past, but would put on an Indianapolis uniform for the first time in 2016 if they are sent to the Triple-A level.
Figueroa had a solid season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in 2015, finishing with a .292 batting average with three home runs and 44 RBI. The second baseman notched three hits in last season’s playoff series against the Tribe and went 2-for-8 with a pair of doubles in two games with the New York Yankees in 2015.
Ortiz played with the Rochester Red Wings during the 2015 season, where he had a solid year with power numbers. The left fielder ranked fifth in the International League with 78 RBI and 51 extra base hits, in addition to hitting 17 home runs.
Partch spent his 2015 season outside of the IL, as he pitched for the Sacramento RiverCats of the Pacific Coast League. The righty posted a record of 1-3 with an ERA of 3.53, while striking out 81 batters in 48 appearances. Partch made on and off appearances with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013 and 2014, as he surrendered 16 earned runs in 30 1/3 innings of work.
Zarate opened the 2015 season in spring training with the Tampa Bay Rays, but bounced around the team’s minor league system and never made it to the majors. The left-hander spent most of his year with the Durham Bulls, where he made five starts, earned two saves and pitched in a total of 17 games with a 2.90 ERA.
The Pirates’ spring training schedule begins on March 1, with the Indians getting their 2016 regular season underway on April 7 in Columbus.