Braves Claim Jesse Biddle off Waivers

The Atlanta Braves have claimed left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Biddle was designated for assignment last week to make room for third baseman David Freese. He was actually released by the Pirates earlier this week and Neal Huntington said that the Pirates were interested in re-signing him, but the Braves were able to pick him up before he cleared waivers.

Biddle will miss the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, and he had dropped from the top prospect rankings before he injury last year, but he was still an interesting arm due to his past. The Pirates only gave up minor league reliever Yoervis Medina to acquire Biddle, so combined with him missing the entire season, it wasn’t much of a loss to get Freese on the roster.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Elijah K

Big time loss, don’t see how they recover

joe s

You grease the pig and it can slip through your fingers. If the Bucs liked Biddle then they should have kept him, but looks like they wanted their cake and eat it too. This time it did not work. I wish Biddle well and hope he has a long and successful career.

Bill W

Now it’s called Baily,Banks and claimed off waivers.


I think this just shows how much respect the Pirates have gained in the past five years. The Pirates take a long shot off contract with every intention of resigning him, but no, the Atlanta Braves strike, snapping him up with his year off for rehab and all else! Another reason to feel good about how far the Pirates have come in a short time, from laughable losers to respected contenders.

I’ll take it!

Troy B

Neal Huntington must be doing a hell of a job if his detractors resort to complaining about losing Jesse frickin Biddle.


Neal Huntington must be doing a hell of a job if all his supporters can do is follow him blindly.


I find it extremely interesting that the same folks telling everyone that losing Biddle – for absolutely no good reason – isn’t a big deal yet getting Biddle in the first place was a good move.

Scott K

This move has raised the ire of the arm chair GM contingent.


Definitely a slow day when news of losing Jesse Biddle creates this much conversation. TJ in Oct 2015 puts him as a possible sometime in 2017 – the Bucs took a chance knowing he would have to pass through waivers in order for the Pirates to hold onto him over the next 2 years. Even with a boatload of better prospect pitchers in AA/AAA, NH is still stirring the pot trying to find something for nothing.


Yes. Guys like JB are always kicking around It’s like musical chairs.

If he passes through waivers and the Pirates sign him to a 2-year minor league deal, then it’s a genius move. The issue wasn’t “do we keep him this year?,” but “how can we keep him for next year?” Because after this season he becomes a 6-year minor league FA.

Plus, keeping him around on the 40-man roster means they had to pay him $500K. Yes, that’s peanuts in baseball economics, but not having to pay him gives the FO an extra $500K for a trade deadline acquisition.

And the good news is that Biddle is still going to be a minor league FA at the end of the year. If they want him badly enough, they can go get him then.

Arik Florimonte

I’m with those who think Florimon should have been waived instead. I doubt he’d be claimed, but if he was, they still have Ngoepe if they need a great glove who can’t hit. And if Mercer and Ngoepe both get hurt and Florimon gets claimed they can move Kang to SS. And if Kang can’t play SS they still have Hanson, Frazier, or Moroff could fill in at 2B and move Harrison to SS and *still* not lose much overall. There is just not much reason to keep a sub-replacement level SS when there are so many other options.

Blaine Huff

Speaking of players no longer in the organization….yeah, it’s ST, but:

Keon Broxton: .808 OPS, 3 SBs.

Oh, and…

Jason Rogers: .588 OPS


Read any assessment of the Brewers’ system and long term prospects. Keon Broxton is never mentioned.

Blaine Huff

I’d never make the argument that Broxton is a starting option. But, with the Pirates, he had a potential role and I think he would’ve filled it.

Rogers, overall, has the higher upside. The issue is he has no role.

I would liken this deal to something like trading Adam Frazier for a good backup catcher. Bring in a guy you have no use for in exchange for someone who will probably contribute?


Very much disagree that Rogers has the higher upside, from a value perspective.

He’s not going to give you anything in the field or on the bases, meaning he’s gotta mash just to be above replacement level. Broxton clicks just enough to post a .300 OBP and he’s immediately worth at least 1-2 wins based on position and the fact that he’s actually a decent baseball player, unlike Rogers.

Blaine Huff

Ah, I don’t disagree…I should have prefaced that by saying: “as a hitter”.

Overall, I think Rogers will contribute better offensive numbers.


You had to remind me….plus we gave up Supak for Pedro 2.0 (minus the power)…

Stephen Brooks

And Pedro Florimon has a .500 SLG and Gregory Polanco has an OPS of .516. Draw conclusions on 20-odd spring PA at your own risk.

Blaine Huff

Definitely agree…without a doubt.


For a team like the Pirates, they were eventually going to have to try and get him through.


…this is an example of a “calculated” risk going poorly…at least they still have the luxury of not having Morton anymore. Biddle was just a flier anyways.


Please tell me we didn’t lose Biddle by keeping the likes of Boscan, Knudson, Florimon, or worse on the 40 man?


You aren’t getting “Biddle is out for all of 2016” – we are keeping players that add depth now… What if Mercer and S Rod are both injured between now and opening day? Would you have rather kept Biddle, who I’m sure nobody here even heard of before the offseason, or florimon? I get that we took a flyer on him… And if Kang was somehow ready for 2016, or Freese didn’t sign, or Alan Hanson was actually ready mentally, or, or, or- Biddle stays. But none of those things happened. So he’s gone, and the team is better. Now, and long term, because there are 3- 5 more Biddles NH will find between now and next year.

Bill W

Yes! Also Holdzkom


I don’t have a problem with Holdzkum – he can still be a usable reliever. But Florimon?


Well Knudson and Boscan aren’t on the 40-man roster but Florimon is. But I get your point.
I actually think that this is an area that Huntington can improve in. Ignoring whether Florimon is good or not, I’ll bet the Pirates cut him in two weeks.
Trade Broxton for a back up 1B (Rogers), then sign a ‘starting 1B (Jaso), then sign another back up 1B (Freese). And also go out looking for a back up OF (Joyce) that you basically had in Broxton to begin with.
He doesn’t seem to sign players with a plan, he seems to sign any talented players and then gets caught with players who can’t be sent down or must remain on the 40-man.


Yeah, Huntingdon doesn’t have a plan, or a clue….but you and BFSinM know better ? Ha ha…OMG…hysterical.

Chuck C

Going over the edge. I did not read anything about NH being incompetent. Just peoples opinion. Last I heard, that’s what blogs are for.


Just to add to my argument, (prior to this year) Neal goes into each year with numerous pitching relief projects which results in only five validate options putting stress on the top five legitimate relievers. There are never back up middle infield onions resulting in AAAA players in key spots during playoff races. And when was the last time we had a legitimate back up at 1B?
Think about that and tell me what his plan is…


Just to be clear, i am not talking about an overall team plan – just a good plan to deal with the fringe players. (And, yes, he obviously has a plan, it’s just in my opinion, it is not a good one.) If you haven’t seen the problems, you haven’t been watching closely. Start with our need for a 6th through 8th starting pitchers, pitchers he says he will need, they are Nicasio, Lobstein, and Boscan. One of the chances he takes is grabbing players who must remain on the 40-man like Stolmy Pimentel and then taking up a roster spot (while not pitching him in a playoff race) all year long to develop him in the majors only to turn around and release him at season’s end.

Stephen Brooks

There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of Neal Huntington, but “not having a plan” doesn’t strike me as one of them. One of his overarching plans is to try to cram 47 guys onto the 40-man roster by passing the fringe guys through waivers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you see the Dodgers doing the same thing with a $250M payroll, so it’s not like he’s the only one. Frankly I think that’s a feature, not a bug.

Blaine Huff

I’m torn.

It seems like NH did have a plan this offseason, but…for the life of me…I don’t know what it was.

Acquiring Niese as the #4 starter made sense. Salary dumping Morton and making Niese the #3 didn’t.

Signing Nicasio for the BP was solid. Signing Vogelsong for the rotation seemed desperate. Stretching Nicasio out for the rotation weakens the BP and, if he succeeds, makes the signing of Vogelsong meaningless.

Signing Goebbert was odd…did anyone think he was going to be the LH 1Bman? Signing Jaso was smart. and makes the guaranteed ML contract to Goebbert even more of a head scratcher.

In trading away Broxton, who could’ve easily been good 4th OFer, the team replaced him with Joyce…who’s been in decline for 3 straight seasons and seems to be at rock bottom. Meanwhile, the guy they got for Keon is blocked by Morse at the ML level and Bell at AAA…making him, pretty much, useless.

Freese was a great pickup…but, most likely, he’ll be useless after the beginning of May…or Morse will.

Resigning S-Rod was…well, resigning S-Rod. There were better players available for less money. And it’s not that they could’ve saved a little money that’s the issue…it’s that a better player could have been gotten.

I’m sure there was a plan…but it seems like it wasn’t coherent…as if each move was made in isolation instead of part of a broader strategy. Who knows, there may have been aspects of the plan that failed. NH might have been inches away from dealing Morse and it fell through…he might have had his foot in the door on 3 or four reclamation pitchers and the market exploded so he walked away from risky deals and had to slip someone into the backend of the rotation. You know, stuff that happens in the backrooms that you only ever hear about if the folks involved want it to be known.

All in all, I think NH had a plan this offseason…I also think it failed. Outside of a better LH hitter at 1B and a good fill-in at third, this team didn’t get any better. Pitching is in the tank…the rotation is weaker now than it was the moment Niese was acquired and the BP is much, much weaker than it was when the season ended. With Morse, Stewart, Florimon, S-Rod, (Joyce?) on the bench, that group isn’t stronger than 2015.

I’m not a Neal basher…he’s done an outstanding job as GM, but, let’s face it, if they made a movie about this offseason, it would star Amy Schumer and Bill Hader.


Great post


Looking at an offseason as a cohesive, pre-determined 5 month plan just isn’t valid. Assessing moves made Nov through March in succession would imply that GMs know ahead of time every guy that they will be able to sign. Things happen during the offseason that change your plans- guys you thought you could sign get away. So, some of these offseason moves were probably just hedges in the event [insert guy we don’t know about] didn’t work out, or that the guy that did pan out didn’t sign until March. So the result is you waste a couple marginal prospects in exchange for insurance policies, and sometimes it bites you. But, remember all the other conversations on this site about “where are they going to find playing time for all of these log-jammed prospects in the system?”

Blaine Huff

I don’t disagree with much of that…in fact, that’s why included:

“NH might have been inches away from dealing Morse and it fell through…he might have had his foot in the door on 3 or four reclamation pitchers and the market exploded so he walked away from risky deals and had to slip someone into the backend of the rotation. You know, stuff that happens in the backrooms that you only ever hear about if the folks involved want it to be known.”

In my post.

However, I would disagree there wasn’t a predetermined plan. I’m sure, at it’s root, it was as simple as: we need to upgrade here, here, here, and here….and there’s this much money to do it.

Jaso, Nicasio, Niese and Feliz seemed to fit right in line with “a plan”.

Then there were the pickups who were grabbed for…well, whatever reason. They’ve been beaten to death already, but…the Pirates didn’t need Rogers, Goebbert? No. Joyce? Probably, but only because they acquired Rogers…who they didn’t need. Vogelsong? Obviously, not.


Sorry, I guess I glossed over paragraph 8, but yeh that covers most of my point. 🙂

I also had an issue with your logic on Rogers, where you say:

“Meanwhile, the guy they got for Keon is blocked by Morse at the ML level and Bell at AAA…making him, pretty much, useless.”

First of all, I don’t consider a bench role useless, and Rogers had a short track to at least a bench role before the Freese signing. And actually, I would think he even had an opportunity to beat out Morse in camp. After the Freese signing, I agree that pushes him closer to “useless” territory, but that speaks to my point above about the casualties in an insurance policy approach and assessing an offseason in hindsight. Plus, I’m not losing sleep over Broxton, as I felt like Rogers had a better chance to make an impact this season than Broxton did, and winning now is important too.

Rogers aside, I do agree with you hat the SP situation was mishandled, and I could have done without the SRod signing.

Blaine Huff

Paragraph 8? Bah…that was a short post by my standards.

I don’t know that Freese bumped Rogers. I don’t see him a 3Bman…maybe in the emergency role, but he’d fall on the depth chart after Kang, Harrison, S-Rod, and Mercer (with someone backfilling at SS).

As for first…it’s an intriguing thought…but I don’t know the Pirates would go for it for two reasons…one, if Morse is at all serviceable, I don’t think they eat his contract and, with Jaso’s suspect D, I don’t know that they go with someone just as weak. However, I would not be shocked, if Jaso’s D improves and the Pirates find a taker for Morse, that they may give it a shot.

With the roster as it is…even pre-Freese, I think Rogers was destined for AAA.




Take this with a grain of salt as I’m jesting a bit: You bashed NH for literally 10 paragraphs, then said in the 11th you are not a NH basher. I love reading my fellow PP comments every day, and sometimes I actually agree with yours. However, unless you are really Clint Hurdle in disguise; I’m not terribly concerned about NH’s plan because you don’t get it.

Blaine Huff

“….and sometimes I actually agree with yours…”

Now, there’s some damning with faint praise.


No, i don’t see myself as a Neal basher. As I said, there were moves that I liked.

Freese was a great get. There are some folks who don’t appreciate it, but this was basically a mid-season rental three months early.

Considering the circus surrounding 1B, I loved the pickup of Jaso.

Niese was solid.

Nicasio was a good add.

And, although I think he has a high probability of failing, Signing Feliz was necessary.

Dumping Morton, signing Goebbert, S-Rod, Vogelsong, Joyce, and trading for Rogers? No. It’s not an issue of money, as the acquisitions are all relatively low-cost players…it’s that they’re not good players and the Pirates could’ve done better.


Some people can walk and chew gum at the same time, you know.

It takes absolutely no amount of mental gymnastics to disagree with *individual* moves while respecting the overall body of work.

My god.

Stephen Brooks

There are hints as to what the plan was/is. NH has said the Pirates want to be more contact oriented. That would certainly explain why Broxton isn’t the 4th OF – the guy sported a 26-28% K rate in AA/AAA, which equates to low 30’s in the majors. It’s very unlikely he will be able to hit major league pitching enough to let his secondary skills play. So they brought in Matt Joyce, who was good as recently as 2014 and with any kind of bounce back is a surer bet for the 200 PA a 4th OF might expect than Broxton. And Goebbert will definitely play more OF than 1B, and he fits the mold of the contact-oriented, can-take-a-walk player the team apparently likes.

The pitching is much harder to fathom. I try making sense of it, and I still come down to “but why Ryan Vogelsong?” This, and signing SRod are my two WTF moves.

But I wouldn’t sell the bullpen short – nobody gets to keep their deadline rentals. Remember, this is the team that ran Liz and Scahill out there opening day last year. They’ve kept the same top 4, added Feliz, and even if Nicasio moves to the rotation they’ll be better 5-7 than last year.

I’m guessing the bench is Stewart, Morse, Joyce, Figueroa and SRod. Not Florimon – Gift is a replica and is already on the 40-man. Morse is a Jose Tabata-sized sunk cost. Don’t get too used to him. If he’s hitting like Hart/Lambo when Kang returns, he won’t be around long.

Blaine Huff

I don’t share the Joyce optimism. One of us will be correct about this, and we’ve both got reasons for our positions…we’ll revisit this in a few months and one of us can issue a well-deserved “I told you so”. 🙂

I’m higher on Broxton. He’s a solid fielding OF with, I think, an adequate bat for a reserve, and the game changing speed of someone you use as a pinch runner.

I agree with you on RV and S-Rod, but the Rogers trade is also high on my radar. If the Pirates don’t acquire Rogers, they keep Broxton and have no need for Joyce…instead, they downgrade the 4th OF spot all to grab a guy who has no role on the ML or AAA team?

I agree on Morse…I think/hope the Pirates are going to Ike Davis him…hold onto him in the hopes that someone will be desperate coming out of ST and will take him…even if they only give enough to wipe out the Pirates debt to him. If that comes to pass and Rogers is slotted into the lineup as the RH 1Bman (with Freese as a fallback once Kang returns). I’ll have a different opinion on many aspects of the overall acquisitions.

Chuck C

Rogers has to make the club coming north, and produce, for the Broxton trade to make sense to me. The Pirates value defense and trade for a ballplayer that doesn’t have a position, and get rid of a player that can play three outfield positions quite well. Plus, Broxton is only 25…..Just can’t figure this trade out.


Joyce is a poor defender who can’t hit RHP and *still* struck out 24% of the time last year but getting him instead of Broxton shows a quality plan toward contact hitters?

Oh, ok.

Stephen Brooks

Consult a calculator and you will notice that 24% is indeed lower than 31-33%.


Consult Major League averages and you will notice 24% still sucks.

If the goal was contact ability, and the solution is well-below average in that category, then what does that say about Huntington’s supposed plan?

Stephen Brooks

Actually, I did consult major league averages. For corner outfielders, because we’re not talking about middle infielders or catchers, are we? And the average K% is about 21.5%. Joyce at 23.6% is less than 1/2 standard deviation worse. Which neither “sucks” nor is it “well below average,” at least according to statistical constructs. To wit, behold the list of 4th OF with a league average or below K rate (for corner OF) who were available this offseason:

Chris Young
Grady Sizemore
Domonic Brown
Steve Pearce
Rajai Davis
David deJesus
David Murphy

Nothing to see here. Might as well be Matt Joyce, to see if his 2015 was an aberration.

But this is decidedly beside the point, which is that the Pirates, who helped Keon Broxton resurrect his prospect status, and cleared the deck of Travis Snider, Jose Tabata, Andrew Lambo, Gorkys Hernandez and every other potential obstruction for him to ascend, apparently did not see a fit with the parent club. They traded him (AND Supak) for what most consider to be an underwhelming return who has no immediate path to the major leagues, within the division no less.

So whatever we readers of this blog read into Broxton’s stats, his power/speed combination, his relative youth, the people who know him infinitely better than we do were nowhere near as optimistic, and thought the team would be better off choosing from among the list of cast-offs above, plus one Matt Joyce. And you can surmise that, since there was no pressure to consummate a trade as early in the offseason as they did, there were not substantially better offers out there for Broxton’s services.

Now, I’m just guessing that the public statements Huntington has made about trying to make the team more contact-oriented and the trade of Keon Broxton and his (Steamer projected) 32% K rate are related. You can draw your own conclusions. You can disagree with their (apparent) assessment that Joyce is a better fit than Broxton for this team. You can bemoan the return the Pirates got for Broxton.

But what you cannot do is disagree that Joyce’s 23.6% K rate is SUBSTANTIALLY lower than the 32% rate Broxton is projected for. It is 2 standard deviations less, and if the plan was to get more contact oriented, this series of moves absolutely is in keeping.



Stephen Brooks

That’s you in a nutshell. Who needs facts when you have convictions.


This is simple: 24% K-rate is in no way good or even average contact hitting.

Stephen Brooks

OK, but that isn’t remotely what I have written at any point on this or any thread, is it? I’ve only said that Joyce’s 23.6% K rate is a far sight more contact oriented than Broxton’s 32%. And that I don’t think 23.6% sucks, when compared to other corner OFs.


If you think parsing statistics so far that somehow a 24% K rate doesn’t suck, then you’re most certainly NOT dealing with “facts”.

By the way, what’s the percentage of time somebody on the internet argues “facts” that are actually, you know, unbiased and factual? This is the nerd’s equivalent of “WATCH THE DAMN GAMES!”.

Stephen Brooks

There was one and only one parse, and that was comparing Joyce to his positional peers – corner OF. Is this what you object to?

Because otherwise, the numbers are the numbers. I didn’t add any other qualifiers to make this convenient. Joyce ranked better than 1/3 of his positional colleagues in K rate, full stop. For what it’s worth, Broxton would rank as the 2nd worst on the same list.

I do not believe that the 33rd percentile is past the threshold of “suck.” You are entitled to a dissenting opinion, but I do wonder, what K% (or percentile) for you is the threshold of “suck”?

Never mind, I know you won’t give a straight answer to that.


Unbelievable that they would protect a dime a dozen AAAA middle infielder over a former first round draft pick who could have paid big dividends down the road. This FO does make a number of what comes across as very short sighted decisions. This one is just plain stupidity.


And he had Greinke-esque depression and anxiety issues


I have to agree with BucconsFan. The Pirates traded to get Biddle, They didn’t just claim him off of waivers. They knew he was damaged goods when they traded to get him, therefore they thought they had something to work with.
To now state that he wasn’t that good anyway means the Pirates made a dumb ass move trading for him, and then an even dumber move by thinking he would clear waivers.
This just mirrors a lot of dumb moves over this winter.


You are right that Figueroa will replace Florimon’s spot and Joyce would take someone’s place. But O’Flaherty would replace Scahill who needs to be cut if he doesn’t make the team and Biddle could have been placed on 60-day DL. I know it would cost them $500,000 but they do have the money this year…


Unless the 40 man roster I am looking at is outdated, we have the following suspects on the 40 man roster:
– Pedro Florimon
– Jake Goebbert
– Rob Scahill
It is likely that any of the above could have been waived, and the chances of any of them being picked up were less than the chances of Biddle being claimed. And, even if one of them were claimed, so what? So, they could have been waived if additional spots were needed for Joyce or O’Flaherty.
Stupid move by NH….if it was a gamble, it was a dumb gamble because Biddle was still young enough and was a highly regarded prospect just 2-3 years ago. I could have predicted someone would grab him.
Now Biddle may never become a MLB pitcher – but he had enough potential to justify holding onto him over 3-4 AAAA players who are nothing but minor league roster fillers.

Chuck C

I didn’t like the Broxton trade, but the Pirates have a lot more pitching prospects making the Biddle lost not hurting so much. I really liked Broxton and hope he doesn’t tear up the Buccos in Milwaukee. The first position is really a head scratcher considering the man called Bell being ready to contribute. Joyce, imho, is okay for emergency with a lefty bat, but Broxton would help the Pirates in many more ways. Just my thoughts.


The problem was that Florimon, Scahill, and Goebbert have the ability to help the major league team this year. Of course theyd have loved to hold on to Biddle but in order to, at some point they were going to have to try and sneak him thru waivers.


Now wait a minute, when the Pirates got this guy everyone on this site was saying (including me) what a great gamble it was on a young pitcher who was once considered a top 100 prospect. Now, we’re going to say – ‘he wasn’t good anyway”….really?

Bill W

Backfilling in case a catastrophic anaomily occurs

Pirates Prospects Daily



Latest articles

Latest comments