CHICAGO -- The Pirates may be prepared to part ways with a pair of veteran relievers. They have placed setup man Juan Nicasio on irrevocable outright waivers, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Tuesday that they did the same with rehabbing left-hander Wade LeBlanc.The
CHICAGO -- The Pirates may be prepared to part ways with a pair of veteran relievers. They have placed setup man Juan Nicasio on irrevocable outright waivers, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Tuesday that they did the same with rehabbing left-hander Wade LeBlanc.
The club has neither commented on nor confirmed the reports.
Nicasio and LeBlanc were both with the team on Tuesday. Nicasio took his place in the bullpen early on during the Bucs' 4-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Hours earlier, LeBlanc threw a bullpen session indoors as he works his way back from a strained left quad.
Passing a player through irrevocable outright waivers is not the same as the revocable waiver trade process. In this case, any team could claim Nicasio or LeBlanc for a small fee, take on his salary and not have to provide the Pirates anything in return.
When it comes to revocable trade waivers -- the most common way to make deals after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline -- a player can be pulled back if he is claimed by another team. That is not the case in regard to irrevocable outright waivers. If another club puts in a claim on Nicasio or LeBlanc, the Pirates cannot pull them back.
Nicasio is owed approximately $670,000 the rest of the season, LeBlanc $135,000. Nicasio is set to become a free agent at the end of the year, and it seems unlikely the Bucs will pick up LeBlanc's $1.25 million club option for 2018 if he remains in Pittsburgh.
Clubs typically use outright waivers to remove players without Minor League options from their 40-man rosters. National League teams, in reverse order of the standings, will have the first opportunity to claim Nicasio and LeBlanc. Such a move might make sense for a contender looking for bullpen help down the stretch.
Nicasio has been one of the Majors' most reliable setup men this season. Set to turn 31 on Thursday, he has posted a 2.85 ERA with 60 strikeouts and only four home runs allowed in 60 innings over a Major League-leading 65 appearances.
LeBlanc, 33, is on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left quad but should return to action soon. He has a 4.99 ERA in 61 1/3 innings over 45 appearances this season.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.