Bucs take SS in Rule 5 Draft Minors phase
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Pirates lost three Minor League players and picked up one in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, the final act of the Winter Meetings at the Opryland Hotel.
The Pirates weren't expected to take anyone in the Major League phase of the Draft, but they were prepared for the possibility that another club might select one of their unprotected prospects. Yet they were still somewhat surprised when the Angels used their first pick to select reliever Deolis Guerra, who signed a Minor League deal with Pittsburgh on Monday.
"That situation, that's very unusual," director of player personnel Tyrone Brooks said. "I don't remember anything from talking to his agent that there was a whole bunch of competition as far as trying to sign him. Obviously people looked at their reports and looked at their needs, how they were filling out their club. But I'm happy for him to get an opportunity to go in for camp. We'll see what happens here coming up once the spring starts."
Guerra, 26, made his Major League debut with the Bucs last season after spending 10 years in the Minors. He was claimed on waivers by the Indians after being designated for assignment on July 31, but the claim was rescinded because Guerra was injured at the time of the transaction.
Guerra pitched well for Triple-A Indianapolis last season, posting a 1.23 ERA and 0.79 WHIP, and received an invitation to Spring Training when he re-signed with the Pirates on Monday. The Pirates would have a chance to add Guerra back to their system if he doesn't stay on the Angels' active roster or disabled list all season.
"We always make sure we're following those guys during the course of that following spring," Brooks said. "We'll definitely be monitoring his progress to see what's going on and continue our evaluation process."
The Pirates also lost two players in the first round of the draft's Triple-A phase. The Marlins selected recently acquired right-hander Patrick Johnson, who was previously pitching in the independent American Association, and the Mariners picked up right-hander Isaac Sanchez, who posted a 2.71 ERA in 42 relief appearances for Class A Advanced Bradenton.
The Pirates have not made a selection in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft since selecting Gustavo Nunez in 2011. In the Triple-A phase, they selected 22-year-old shortstop Alfredo Reyes, who hit .228 with a .551 OPS in 68 games for Class A Brooklyn last season.
"He's a good athlete. We saw some ability to play shortstop, just liked his actions, how he went about his business playing shortstop," Brooks said. "Just felt he could provide some prospect depth for us at the shortstop position. You're always looking for guys that can field and throw and make plays."