The Pirates have announced that they’ve acquired infielder Chris Bostick from the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor league catcher Taylor Gushue and cash considerations. Bostick was added to the 40-man roster, and to make room, Josh Harrison has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list. However, Bostick won’t be added to the active roster.
Bostick is a 23-year-old utility player who has played second, third, and left field this year. He has also played shortstop in a smaller role as recently as 2015 (only six games) and has made a few appearances in right and center field. He made the jump to Triple-A this year, after putting up an .818 OPS in 297 plate appearances in Double-A. He struggled with a .559 OPS in his first appearance in Triple-A in 242 plate appearances. He was the Nationals’ 25th ranked prospect heading into the 2016 season, according to Baseball America.
Prior to being with the Nationals, Bostick played for Oakland, where he was their 24th, 20th, and 18th ranked prospect following the 2011-2013 seasons, respectively.
Bostick has two option years remaining, so this looks to be a move to add infield depth for the 2017 season. The Pirates do have Gift Ngoepe and Max Moroff on the 40-man roster, along with Alen Hanson, who is out of options next year. I wouldn’t start predicting that this move means anything other than adding depth prior to the off-season, especially when it involves the future for other players in the organization.
Gushue shows some promise behind the plate, with good athleticism and average-to-above average arm strength. The arm hasn’t always translated to a high caught stealing total, although in the times I’ve seen him the last two years, Gushue has done a lot better when pitchers move quicker to the plate, and has really gotten hammered by slower deliveries. He’s got some offensive potential, with some good raw power, but that hasn’t fully translated to the game, and he’s more raw. He has a good approach at the plate, limiting strikeouts and posting a decent walk rate, while showing a .131 ISO this year in Bradenton. He’s a good guy to take a gamble on, but in the Pirates’ system, he’s held back by Elias Diaz, Jin-De Jhang, and had strong defender Christian Kelley pushing to take time away from him next year.
Overall, the Pirates traded a player who probably wasn’t in their long-term mix at catcher, and was about to be losing playing time to some other lower level catchers. They received a guy who has been a top prospect in recent years, can play all over the field, and can add to their MLB depth next year.