The Pittsburgh Pirates have until midnight tonight to make a waiver trade and have that player eligible for their playoff roster. But by the looks of things, it doesn’t appear that they’ll be adding anyone before that deadline passes.
“We’ve been aggressive in claims, as has much of the industry has, so there’s not a lot of players that we feel are significant additions for us available that have cleared waivers or that have gotten to us on a waiver claim situation,” Neal Huntington said to the media on Sunday. “Hasn’t been a lack of effort, hasn’t been a lack of interest, but nothing imminent at this point and time.”
The Pirates have been very active on the waiver wire this month, mostly adding guys who are Triple-A depth at best, or DFA candidates not long after being claimed. The best addition was John Axford, who has looked good in a very limited appearance of 4.2 innings. The Pirates could use additional relievers, but any future bullpen help might come from the minors, rather than adding another player off waivers like the Axford deal.
“We’ve got some guys that we think we’ll add here in the next day or so that can help,” Huntington said on future bullpen additions. “Our plans have kind of been all over the map. It’s been position players, starting pitchers, bullpen guys. It’s been a lower percentage of successful claims this year than ever, meaning guys are going before us. You expect the American League guys not to get through the American League, but there’s been some clubs that have given up some guys in the National League that have been claimed before they get to us this year, which has been a bit of a surprise.”
It’s too small of a sample size to say that Axford will work out, but if he does work out, that would be a huge boost for the bullpen. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have been great in the late innings. If Axford can take over the seventh inning, the Pirates would be in a strong position down the stretch, and wouldn’t need a big boost from the minors, or from a trade.