Bucs bring in NRIs with big league experience

December 18th, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Tuesday announced a round of non-roster signings that added four players to their Spring Training roster.

Pittsburgh signed outfielder , infielder , left-hander and, as previously reported, right-hander to Minor League contracts and invited all four players to Major League Spring Training.

Brito, 27, is perhaps the most notable addition in the group. The left-handed-hitting outfielder owns a .291 average with a .778 OPS and 157 steals over 10 seasons in the Minors. He slashed .282/.328/.510 in 97 games last season with the Blue Jays’ Triple-A Buffalo affiliate, thus under the watch of current Pirates general manager Ben Cherington.

Brito made his Major League debut with the D-backs in 2015, played parts of three seasons in Arizona and joined Toronto for 17 games in '19. He can play all three outfield positions, which makes him a valuable depth option for Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates are well aware of the importance of that kind of Major League-ready depth, having used 15 different players in their injury-plagued outfield last season.

Evans, 27, spent all of 2019 with the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa affiliate. The right-handed-hitting infielder slashed .283/.371/.470 with 30 doubles, three triples and 17 homers in 130 games. He has experience all around the infield and in left field. He also appeared in 34 games for the Mets in 2017-18, batting .241 with a .606 OPS.

Del Pozo, 27, posted a 4.99 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings over 40 appearances between Triple-A Nashville and Salt Lake last season. He made his Major League debut for the Angels on Aug. 20, retiring the only two batters he faced. The lefty reliever posted a 2.70 ERA in his first eight appearances but ended the year with a 10.61 ERA in 9 1/3 Major League innings. In eight Minor League seasons, Del Pozo has recorded 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings despite his overall 4.28 ERA.

The Pirates agreed to sign Noesi, who will turn 33 in January, during the Winter Meetings last week. The right-hander could crack Pittsburgh’s bullpen at some point, but he was signed primarily to provide rotation depth. Noesi went 0-3 with an 8.46 ERA in 12 appearances (four starts) for the Marlins last season. He recorded a 3.82 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 21 starts for Triple-A New Orleans, ranking first in the Pacific Coast League in ERA and WHIP while finishing second in strikeouts (133) and batting average against (.240).