The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro for assignment, setting their bullpen for Opening Day. The last two spots were down to Stolmy Pimentel, Jeanmar Gomez and Mazzaro after the Pirates announced Bryan Morris made the roster yesterday.
This move isn’t unexpected. Mazzaro was the guy I expected to be the odd man out for the majority of Spring Training. Coming into camp it looked like Morris could be the odd man out, but his stuff was really impressive, and obviously impressed the Pirates. The Pirates love Stolmy Pimentel and his arsenal, to the point that he was getting a starter’s workload this Spring. That left Gomez and Mazzaro, and Gomez has more value due to his success in a lot of different roles last year.
The Pirates now have ten days to trade Mazzaro, or put him on waivers. I’m guessing there will be a few teams calling about a trade, and I don’t think he’ll end up on waivers. His value really doesn’t change much. The Pirates have to trade him now, but that really isn’t any different than where they were before this move. Everyone knew that they had four relievers for three bullpen spots, and that they needed to trade one of them. Now we know that Mazzaro is that guy. The return will really depend on how many teams need a reliever, and whether those teams feel they need to offer more to beat out other potential bidders.
I don’t expect the return to be massive. The Pirates had a similar situation last year with Chris Resop. They traded him early, and got Zack Thornton for him. Thornton is now a depth option for Indianapolis. I also don’t think we’ll see a two birds with one stone scenario where they trade a reliever and get a first baseman. I’d expect the return to be similar to Resop, with the Pirates getting a depth option.