Just over a month ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded lefty reliever Justin Wilson to the Yankees in a deal for catcher Francisco Cervelli. Since then, Pittsburgh has been on the hunt to replace Wilson, and one was found Wednesday during winter meetings. The Pirates struck a deal with state rival Philadelphia Phillies to receive lefty Antonio Bastardo in exchange for left-handed prospect Joely Rodriguez.
Bastardo is a big under-the-radar pickup for the Pirates and will be second in the pecking order to 2014 National League All-Star Tony Watson. Bastardo signed with Philadelphia in 2005 for $7,000 and finally made his big league debut in 2009. He holds a career 3.72 ERA, 11.3 K/9 and since the start of the 2010 season, has sent 305 batters back to the bench in just 235 1/3 innings.
In his career, Bastardo has held righties to a .211 average and a .308 OBP and lefties at .185 and .284 marks. Since 2011, only three relievers (Craig Kimbrel, Randy Choate and Koji Uehara) have held left-handed batters below Bastardo’s .170 clip.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington left some positive comments with MLB.com about the pickup.
"“It’s a very good fit for us. We hated to give up Joely Rodriguez, a young pitcher with a nice future, but we’re in a different point in the win curve in our evolution as an organization. It’s a nice complement for our bullpen. Clint will be able to use him as he feels comfortable. He’s a guy who has pitched late in games in important situations, and our scouts liked his stuff.”"
PNC Park was the third-lowest park in home run count last season and will be a nice fit for the lefty, since nearly 50 percent of batted balls off him were fly outs. The 29-year-old Bastardo is expected to earn $3 million next year through arbitration. He will become eligible for free agency in 2016.