The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed outfielder Patrick Kivlehan to a minor league contract. The 28-year-old split the 2018 season between the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds, spending most of the season in the minors.
He played nine games for the Diamondbacks in 2018, and has also spent time in the majors with the Reds and San Diego Padres over the previous two seasons, hitting .208/.302/.401 in 132 games. He was available to sign early due to electing free agency after he was sent outright to Triple-A by the Diamondbacks earlier this month.
Kivlehan has moved around a lot during his brief career after being drafted as a third baseman in the fourth round in 2012 by the Seattle Mariners. He was their fourth best prospect after the 2014 season, then was moved to the Texas Rangers, where he ranked as one of their top 30 prospects according to Baseball America after the the 2015 season.
He was good for double digits in both steals and homers early in his career, though the running has dropped off dramatically the last few years. Kivlehan hit 20 homers in 98 games for Las Vegas (Triple-A Mets), though it’s important to remember that he was playing in a high offense park, in a high offense league, so it’s unlikely that will translate to Indianapolis.
Since he was signed this early in the free agent process, you can expect him to get a legit shot to win a bench spot in Spring Training, especially with Gregory Polanco out to begin the year.
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.