It took a few days, but Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington finally has something to show for the 2013 Winter Meetings.
It’s been no secret that the Bucs were in the market for another starting pitcher and it looks like Huntington found his man in right-hander Edinson Volquez.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Pirates have inked Volquez to a one-year deal worth $5 million.
Sources: #Pirates, free-agent RHP Edinson Volquez in agreement on one-year, $5M contract, pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
His signing also could spell the end to A.J. Burnett‘s career as a Pirate as Burnett has still not confirmed whether or not he will return for the 2014 season.
In Volquez, Huntington continues his trend of buying low on players. It has worked in the past, most recently with guys like Francisco Liriano and Mark Melancon turning in stellar years during their first seasons in Pittsburgh.
Volquez is a guy that got off to a stellar start to his career with the Cincinnati Reds, but has fallen on hard times the past couple of years. The 30-year-old was released by the Padres last season after posting a 6.01 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 142.1 innings pitched.
He looked a little better in a brief, 28.1-inning cameo with the Dodgers, pitching to a 4.18 ERA with a 26-to-8 K/BB ratio.
Metrically, Volquez’s 4.07 xFIP was significantly lower than his 5.71 ERA on the season. That’s something he has in common with Burnett, Liriano and Melancon at the time of their acquisition by the Pirates.
Volquez finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 when he posted a 3.21 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 196 innings. When he is throwing strikes he is pretty good, but control has always been an issue.
One thing to like is that his fastball velocity has stuck around, even after injury problems. After averaging 93.6 mph on his fastball from 2008-12, he averaged 92.5 mph in 2013. Without a doubt, Volquez is a reclamation project, but one who could produce good results.
He has the power arm and if he gets his control issues worked out, use the two-seam fastball and get ground balls the way the Pirates preach, he could turn out to be a nice surprise.
Keep checking back to City of Champions as we will have all of the updates on the Pirates’ wheelings and dealings this offseason.