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Pirates officially sign righty Lyles to 1-year deal

December 17, 2018

The Pirates on Monday signed Jordan Lyles to a one-year, $2.05 million contract. They expect him to compete for a job in the rotation next spring.Bucs general manager Neal Huntington on Monday noted changes to Lyles' pitch selection last season, which led to greater success on the mound. Lyles increased

The Pirates on Monday signed Jordan Lyles to a one-year, $2.05 million contract. They expect him to compete for a job in the rotation next spring.
Bucs general manager Neal Huntington on Monday noted changes to Lyles' pitch selection last season, which led to greater success on the mound. Lyles increased his curveball usage and he saw his four-seam fastball velocity improve as he posted the highest strikeout rate (22.6 percent) of his career and held opponents to a .249 average. Lyles, 28, went 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and a 2.49 FIP in 11 appearances late last season with the Brewers. He has a 5.28 ERA and 4.50 FIP over eight big league seasons with the Astros, Rockies, Padres and Brewers.
"If he continues to pitch the way he pitched out of the 'pen for Milwaukee in our rotation, we'll have a strong rotation and a strong bullpen to complement it," Huntington said.
Lyles increased his four-seam usage from 29 percent in 2017 to 34 percent in '18. He bumped up his curveball usage from 20 percent in 2017 to 29 percent last season.
Forty-five of his 84 strikeouts came on his curveball.
"We still like the sinker and the power that it has at the bottom of the zone," Huntington said. "Pair that with a good rising fastball at the top and a power breaking ball and we think that there's even more in there."
Steven Brault and Nick Kingham will compete with Lyles for a job in the rotation. Huntington said the club is still considering an "opener," but only if one of those three do not claim the job.
"If no one take the job and grabs ahold of it ... then we may defer back to the opener spot or opener concept," the GM said.
But that, Huntington said, is not the preference.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com.