Pirates DFA Crick, trade for LHP Peters

July 20th, 2021

PHOENIX -- The Pirates made a surprising roster clearing on Monday, designating right-handed reliever for assignment to make space on the 40-man roster for left-hander .

Pittsburgh acquired Peters from the Angels for cash considerations after Los Angeles designated the 28-year-old for assignment on July 14. Peters was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis by the Pirates, who sent cash considerations to the Angels.

Crick, who produced a 3.62 ERA in 150 appearances over four seasons in Pittsburgh, has one of the most devastating relief pitches in baseball -- a slider with an average spin rate of 3,295 rpm, the highest mark in the Majors. However, he’s struggled to command it at times, which has led to trouble in recent outings, including nine runs allowed (eight earned) over his past 6 2/3 innings.

"It's a challenging decision,” manager Derek Shelton said. “Anytime you need a roster spot, it becomes challenging, and I think we've seen that over the last couple weeks. Right now, we're just trying to give opportunities to other guys in our bullpen, and because of that, he ended up being kind of the odd man out on the 40-man."

With closer Richard Rodríguez linked to trade talks, it seemed like Crick would be the strongest candidate to be the next closer if the Pirates were to complete a deal including Rodríguez by the Trade Deadline. Now, it appears more likely that David Bednar -- one of the pieces in the Joe Musgrove trade last offseason -- will fit that bill.

The right-hander, whom the Pirates acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade of 2018, has also dealt with injuries. A right shoulder strain and lat strain limited him to seven outings in the pandemic-shortened ‘20 season.

The Pirates plan to use Peters, who has started in 24 in his 31 Major League appearances, as a starter in the Minors. In eight starts with Triple-A Salt Lake in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this season, Peters has produced a 4.35 ERA with a career-best 10.45 strikeouts per nine innings.

“[He’s a] feel-to-pitch guy,” Shelton said. “Really commands the zone. We've heard good things about him as a person. What it does, it just adds to our starter depth throughout the organization.”

Time off
Adam Frazier and Gregory Polanco -- two potential trade candidates -- were out of the lineup on Monday, but Shelton said those were just days off and that they were available off the bench. They won’t be the only ones getting off-days on this West Coast swing either.

“I think you'll probably see on this trip [Bryan] Reynolds get a day at some point. [Ke’Bryan Hayes] got a day yesterday,” Shelton said. “As we've talked about a lot, we have to be mindful of where we are at, especially because of the fact that we're coming out west, too.”