Pirates Acquire RHP Allen Webster From Diamondbacks

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed pitcher Allen Webster from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations. The 25-year-old Webster was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks last week. He had a 5.81 ERA in five starts and four relief appearances with Arizona in 2015. He has spent parts of three seasons in the majors(the first two with Red Sox), posting a 6.13 ERA over 120.1 innings. From 2012-14, both Baseball America and MLB.com had him as a top 100 prospect each year, ranking as high as 46th in 2014. With this move, and the earlier signing of Jake Goebbert, the 40-man roster is now full.

Webster has never come close to his potential in the majors, but he’s still young enough to reach his upside of a mid-rotation starter, or power reliever if that fails. Baseball America has ranked him as a top 20 prospect for his league six different times. He was the Dodgers #2 prospect in 2011 and the Red Sox fourth best prospect each of the next two seasons. His change-up was voted the best in the International League last year and twice it was voted the best in the Dodgers’ system. He mixes that plus pitch with a fastball that sits mid-to-low 90’s and touches 98 with heavy sink. Webster has put up strong ground ball numbers, while striking out nearly a batter per inning during his minor league time.

Webster has not only struggled in his time in the majors, he had a very difficult 2015 season pitching in Reno, which is a high-offense ballpark. In 15 starts, he posted an 8.18 ERA and batters hit .350 against him. He looks like a project at this point, though one with high upside. It appears he doesn’t have any options remaining, getting sent down each of the last three years after being added to the Red Sox 40-man roster in November, 2012. That could mean that the Pirates try to sneak him through waivers at some point this off-season if they need a roster spot.

  • “Fact based POV” might be where you and the entire logical universe diverge.

    You’ve gone far beyond just fact based the last day, and i never called you a troll. You do, however, beat a narrative into the ground and say absurd things for no reason other than to enjoy the idea that pointing out all the not terrific things about the team somehow validates the idea that they are cheap/stubborn/dumb.

    You are the ultimate in hindsight coupled with holier than thou. “We obviously should have done this, that, and this and im just the simple guy brave enough to point it out”. No one calls the team perfect, but yes its trolling to act like the fact that Searage doesnt hit on every guy means its not absolutely stupid to downplay the fact that he hits a ton.

  • Bud Norris for just $2.5m???

    That’s *exactly* the kind of rotation depth the Pirates should be building right now. Easily slides to the pen if he isn’t needed to start.

  • Sounds like a reclamation project for Benedict. Oh wait maybe not. RUMBUNTER has every bum in baseball coming to PBC as a RAY SEARGE PROJECT.

  • Just setting us up for when they acquire Chris Davis!!

  • Rburgh does cartwheels in the front yard.

    Allen Webster does cartwheels all the way to Ray Searage’s house.

  • dumpster diving continues – I read the comments below and see a LOT of kool aid must have been shipped to PP subscribers for the holidays….

    • No thread is complete without the obligatory kool aid reference.

      Because basic levels of “huh, interesting” just reeks of kool aid. Hating every AAA level move is much more reasoned.

      • not AAA – he is out of option and takes up a roster spot – like a lot of other garbage – and what happened to Tim’s idea that you don’t allocate too many 40 man spots to players you don’t anticipate making the 25 man opening day roster…

        • That was in terms of prospects who are guaranteed to start the season in the minors and on the 40-man.

          In this case, Webster either makes the team, or they outright him off the 40-man. At that point, they might keep him if he clears waivers. And unlike the prospects, he could be used for early season depth.

          This is a no risk/high upside move. Webster has much more upside than the waiver claims like Knudson or Rondon. If he doesn’t work out, it doesn’t hurt them at all.

          • Tim, I had a conversation with John a while back on this. I know that you have to fill the rosters of the affiliates – and that you need to take a few flyers – but these guys are not “free”. Someone has to spend time coaching them – looking at tape – putting pitching/hitting programs together, That is time that does not go to trying to make someone like Heredia better – which might be a better use of resources – or how about spending more time with Pedro working on playing first base better. I worked in some management positions before I retired where I learned that you get further by making your GOOD folks GREAT rather than wasting time trying fix your problem children. Maybe baseball is different – and maybe my problem with all of this is based on business experience that does not translate to baseball.

            • They’re going to have X amount of players, no matter what. And they’ve got plenty of coaches in the system to help.

              You mention Heredia, and here is the reality of the situation. Allen Webster will be in MLB camp. He will be working with Ray Searage, Euclides Rojas, and whoever else they have to replace Jim Benedict. Plus there will be other coaches and advisors before MiLB camp begins.

              When the minor league camp starts (a few weeks after MLB camp), Luis Heredia will be working with an entirely different set of coaches. That will include Scott Mitchell, the minor league pitching coordinator, plus whoever will be Heredia’s pitching coach this year, and anyone else that has worked with him in the past. In minor league camp, they have one coach for each minor league affiliate, plus coordinators and additional coaches. And none of those guys are taken away from working with the minor leaguers by signing someone like Webster.

              Furthermore, if I’m given the chance of applying resources to working with Webster vs working with Heredia, then I’m going with Webster. It would take a lot of coaching to get Heredia to the majors at all. That same amount of coaching could make Webster a valuable starter.

              The goal here is to maximize talent, which goes along with your “making good folks great” idea. But you’re assuming that Webster has no talent, and that Heredia does. They both have talent. Webster is more polished, and his only flaw is that he hasn’t immediately worked out in the majors. But that doesn’t mean someone like Heredia is a smarter project.

              There’s no risk involved here regarding Webster taking resources away from other players. There are enough video scouts, coaches, advisors, and coordinators to cover every pitcher that needs work. And you’d be surprised at how many pitchers an individual coach can work with each day. It’s not like Ray Searage is spending all of his time working with just six guys. He’s watching every single bullpen, and joined by several other people who are watching and taking notes. The video guys are recording and later analyzing. And then everyone gets together to discuss what each player needs to do.

        • I know why you’re frustrated, but it’s misplaced here. This dude isn’t the typical minor league vet signing. Much, much more to work with than Caminero last year, for instance.

    • Seriously, have you looked at the similar moves other organizations have made so far ? Is it that dark where your head is at ? And ” dumpster diving ” PLUS ” Kool aid ” references ? C’mon man ! It is almost 2016 for God’s sake. That is stuff out of a Smizik or DK blog from 6 years ago ! SMH……

    • Lol the typical dumpster diving/ kool aid drinking from the yinzers. Always that one who doesn’t understand the benefits of situations like this so they need to come up with dumpster diving comments.

      #joinusits2015

  • This year’s version of Stolmy?

    • Ah Stolmy, I knew him well.
      Then there was Jenmar
      And J Mac
      And Jonathan Sanchez
      And most recently the Vanimal!
      But we LOVE The Great Searage!

      36 years of losing and we continue to go to the dumpster rather than dial up the payroll to middle of the pack – $120M or so and add a REAL first baseman and a REAL starting pitcher.

      You “Settlers” enjoy your Thanksgiving and watching one more year of competing for the wild card!

      You beat the Cards and Cubs by making two bold moves – see above!

  • Reading all this, just sounds like their kind of project. Nice little move.

  • Get JA Happ signed, he wants to stay and Pirates need what he brings. What is the hold-up? Git ‘er done!

    • I’m interested to see who they drop from the 40 once they sign Happ for example? I guess Pedro (Alvarez or Florimon)

      • Florimon has no chance of staying on the roster

        • Idk, the Kang injury might actually make PGH look for a guy able to cover 3B/2B as the bench option, along with a 1B/OF type. As light hitting as Florimon is, the guy behind him is likely Gift and he’s just as 0 offense.

          Unless they target a guy that primarily plays SS as the bench IFer addition, keeping Florimon might make sense depth wise. Keep Gift in AAA to work on offense, and still have a plus glove, good speed backup SS off the bench. It’d mean the IF addition needs to be a non useless bat, but lets hope thats just the goal in general.

          For instance, them signing a Uribe type would give insurance for Kang early on, allow J Hay to rover and play the bench at times, and they’d need a SS but likely not have roster room for another IFer unless they roll with 1 1Bmen.

          • Florimon is not Rey Ordonez at shortstop, so he can’t hit like him and be on our roster. Just my opinion. We have to do better than that.

            • I think you under estimate how quality Florimon is on defense and with speed. He’s not carrying a HOF glove, but he’s got as good a glove as Gift…and thats the likely next option.

              You arent going to find an above average SS with an okay bat that is a backup. So at backup you are either looking at lacking defense with offensive intrigue, or solid defense with less than optimal offense. If you pair a Florimon type with a hit first 3B/2B bench type, you give the coach plenty of options late in games.

              Florimon’s glove is well above average, coupled with plus speed to be a late inning PR. There are no great backup SS options, so in terms of best fit for the team a glove first backup isnt the worst idea. Give yourself a decent runner and quality glove and fill the other few bench spots with capable bats.

              • Maybe I do underestimate Florimon’s defense, but I’m not sure how well anyone can quantify how good of a ML shortstop he is based on how little he’s played. Again- he is not Rey Ordonez

  • I just read an article on this guy this morning. I thought to myself i bet Neal is all over this guy. Not 2 hours later this! Another low risk/high reward guy cannot hurt.

    • Yes – the BMTIBB is AWESOME at dumpster diving and we know THAT wins World Series!

      • Troll

        • I know I tied one on the Night before Thanksgiving, so I’ll give Bruce the benefit of the doubt that he did too. 😉

        • Is what I posted accurate – sarcastic – but accurate…
          The last time the Pirates “won” anything was 36 years ago. They have been dumpster diving for many if not most of these 36 years…
          If it is then it ain’t trolling
          Cue Jack Nicholon in “A Few Good Men”

          • Your perspective of won “anything” is based off of winning a championship, which is why you are a troll. For you, you win everything or you are garbage. This is not Talladega Nights, there is success short of winning a championship that you feel has no value- hence it is trolling. You can’t throw out the 90-92 Pirates or the 13-15 Pirates without being a troll

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    November 25, 2015 11:31 am

    Now, unlike the other signing today, I like this one. Low risk, potentially a decent reward – maybe a high one. Could be initially a good power arm for the bullpen, until he gets his act together. He has obvious talent, so hopefully a change of scenery will help – maybe he could be sort of like Arrieta – had a lot of potential, but never put it together. Now, trust me, I am not saying he will achieve Arrieta like numbers, just that he could be another young pitcher who just figures it out later than some other guys.

    • BF: Well stated, and surprisingly enough, another pitcher with former ties to the Red Sox. Strong numbers as a SP in AAA for Boston in ’13 (21 Starts, 105 IP, 8-4, 3.60, 116/43 K/W, .190 AA) and ’14 (20 Starts, 122 IP, 4-4, 3.10, 100/44 K/W, .234 AA). Both years he went up to Boston, and his numbers with Boston in 2014 in 11 Starts of 5-3, 5.03 was not all that bad for a team that was terrible and finished 71-91. I agree with you and think this could be a very strong add going into ST.

  • “If you’re interested in stuff and stuff and then stuff some more, you want Allen Webster. Even despite enduring a horrid year, he has three pitches that are above-average in whiff rates, and the changeup would rank in the top 20 (minimum 100 thrown) if he got more chances to throw it. The problem is that he has no command, and his velocity has fallen to the point that it’s average for a righty…But Webster went into this season preparing to be a starter. What would his velocity look like in short stints from the get-go? If it were back up to 94, that might mitigate some of his command issues, and it would help to have empty bases and a directive to get three outs.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/finding-the-next-bargain-relievers/

    • IIRC, Rex Brothers was mentioned in the same post – I’ve been holding out hope they would bring him in as well. Take a look at his home/road splits (career).

      That said, Webster, under the tutelage of Ray Searage, is a really, really good get.

      • Ha, Sarris basically wrote up Brothers as a future Pirate. But man, a 23% walk rate in AAA last year might be too broken even for Searage.

        And that’s coming from a recovering John Axford fan. 😉

      • There you go, man: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/11/rex-brothers-trade-rockies-cubs.html

        For all the accolades deservedly heaped on the Pirates, the Cubs have been doing a hell of a job rebuilding pitchers.

      • Is he as good as
        Stolmy
        Jenmar
        J-Mac
        Jonathan Sanchez
        Van animal
        or the #4 and $5 starters who get trashed regularly
        Morton
        Locke.

        [I love the argument that Locke and Morton are SO MUCH BETTER with Serages help than they would be without BTW]

        Chris Bosio Turned Jake Areitta into an Ace – Gerrit Cole is STILL an ace in waiting…

        Kool Aid must be really tasty!

        • You are truly off your rocker. You are quickly earning troll of the year honors here Bruce

        • What the hell are you even talking about ? Whatever you were reading was just pointing out that bullpens ALL have castoffs, misfits and never was guys in it. You know, the kind of pitchers you call ” garbage ” or ” dumpster dives ” ? If Bosio is such a damned genius, why didn’t he fix Samardzija ? Arietta was a top pick that I saw in AA about 7 or 8 years ago and never could get his head together in Baltimore. It took him a lot longer to develop into an Ace than it has Cole. You are really turning into a clown.

        • You really are running the argument that Searage isnt all that great. Please keep doing it, see how many people line up behind you on that one.

          You listed Gomez and Vance Worley on a list trying to prove some type of failure, when both are far from proof of failure. Go look at Jeanmar’s career before PGH. Worley’s few years before PGH. Morton’s career before Searage was named pitching coach in offseason 2010. Then come back and make another dumb argument.

          Searage isnt God, but he clearly hits more than misses and is one of the best pitching coaches in baseball. Argue anything else and it’ll likely be smarter.

        • Webster absolutely has better pedigree than all of the above names you mentioned. He is a 3-time top 100 prospect and peaked higher on that list than any of the other guys you mentioned. He’s got better raw stuff, and he’s also only 25/turning 26.

          As for the Kool Aid, I like mine with a side of facts. Fortunately, your who’s who actually supports my point.

          Jeanmar went from a 5.95 ERA/5.47 FIP with Cleveland to a 3.35 ERA/3.85 FIP with Pittsburgh, with only a slight drop-off in 2014.

          J-Mac gave the team 400 innings of 3 1/2 WAR before his shoulder fell apart. He hasn’t pitched competitively since the injury. Can’t pin that on Searage.

          Worley had a 2.85 ERA/3.44 FIP a year after a disaster season in Minnesota, and his follow-up in ’15 was equivalent to what he threw for Philadelphia in ’12 (sufficient to net Ben Revere back in trade).

          As for Morton, do yourself a favor and look up his 2010 stats and compare that baseline to what he’s done the last 5 years, after Searage and Benedict re-constructed his delivery.

          And Locke has given the team 3+ WAR and 460 innings out of the #5/6 SP spot the last 3 years. That’s far more value that would be expected by a pitcher drafted in his slot, certainly more than would be expected after his first 3 seasons as a pro. And right up there with the best #5’s baseball has to offer over a 3-year period.

          You love (sarcastically) the argument that Morton and Locke are better with Searage than they would have been without him. Think about what you’re implying, Bruce – if Morton and Locke HAVEN’T been better because of Searage, then you believe each of them has a higher ceiling that another pitching coach could theoretically get them to reach. You honestly believe Jeff Locke is anything better than a #4/#5 starter, based on his talent? As for Morton, whatever upside he could have had as a #3 starter is moot, since he can’t seem to stay healthy and/or mechanically sound for more than 15-20 starts.

          Jake Arrieta turned into an ace in his age 28 season, 7 years after being drafted, and several years after he was named a top 100 prospect in back to back years. Gerrit Cole is entering his age 25 season, 4 years after being drafted. And he IS an ace. Or did you miss that he was 4th in the NL Cy Young vote?

          PS Jonathan Sanchez is a red herring – a 30 year-old NRI who from all reports was resistant to the changes Searage tried to implement in his delivery. He hasn’t surfaced since.

  • Yes. *Exactly* the kind of move I was hoping for when they left two spots open, even down to the specific pitcher.

    Here’s your 7th inning guy next year.

    • I doubt he was signed with any real intention of handing him a spot next year. They had a 40 man spot open, he’s a place holder for now, and if they need the spot later they can try to sneak him through waivers. If they don’t need it, then Searage has another project to work on.

      • With the inevitable trade of Mark Melancon, the Pirates will have just three relievers returning to the 25-man and nothing close to the kind of talent Webster has ready to fill those four open spots.

        You can guarantee he’ll be in Pittsburgh next April.

        • At worst, he’s gotta have a serious leg up on any non-established guy they sign the rest of the offseason. 3 above average pitches, and the idea that increased velo while being in relief means he sits with plenty enough gas to suffice.

          Get him throwing 93-ish, and work with Ray on that control.

        • I would hold off on betting the homestead on that.

          • If they kept guys like Stolmy on the 25-man with far less spots open, they sure as hell better give a guy with as much talent as Webster the same chances!

            I’m not sure folks are really appreciating how much of an effort rebuilding the pen is going to take. I’d be shocked if there wasn’t at least one out-of-options guy stashed, and pretty damn impressed if they can find better options than Webster.

            • NMR – he was DFAd by the Friggin Dbacks – he made it past EVERY NL team other than the Cards – lots of them have needs for bullpen depth. I am fine if you say he is low cost and has potential if the Searage magic that did NOT WORK on a lot of guys works on him – then I will be wrong and will be very willing to admit so on this site and anywhere else you want me to – but this is CLASSIC DUMPSTER DIVING – CLASSIC!!!

              • Webster never went through waivers, he was traded within the assignment designation period.

              • Its funny you use the phrase “Searage magic” in a sentence acting like he fails to do so a ton.

                You know where the idea that Searage is magic at times comes from? Him succeeding so often in getting seemingly ho hum arms to be quality pieces of winning teams.

            • If they resign Happ and a Blanton, say goodbye. I am not opposed to this, but his numbers are absolutely terrible, I don’t care how many good pitches he is supposed to have.

      • J Nadler : nailed it !

      • And that roster spot COULD have kept Lambo through Spring Training rather than losing him to waivers – could have been a nice partner to Morse – but we will never know

  • TurnerWardHitsTheWall
    November 25, 2015 11:16 am

    Ok Neal, back up the truck.

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