Late yesterday afternoon, while the Pittsburgh Pirates were busy plating 22 runs and clubbing 29 hits against the Toronto Blue Jays in Grapefruit League action, general manager Neal Huntington was busy pulling off a trade.
No, it wasn’t for a first baseman.
Instead Huntington acquired starting pitcher Vance Worley from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash.
The Twins outrighted Worley, their Opening Day starter last season, and he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Rochester on Friday.
Worley, 26, pitched well for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011 and fairly well in 2012, but he posted a 7.21 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 48.2 innings in 2013 after coming to Minnesota in a trade for Ben Revere.
He’s a guy that has obvious talent and appears to be just another reclamation project for Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage.
In the short term, Worley can provide depth to the starting rotation, although the Bucs have plenty of that waiting in the minor leagues.
But with Francisco Liriano dealing with a groin injury and top prospect Jameson Taillon struggling with elbow pain, you see how quickly pitchers can drop like flies. It doesn’t hurt to have too much pitching.
Throw in the fact that Edinson Volquez has been getting bombed all spring and it makes a little bit of sense to stockpile arms.
A return to the National League will likely help Worley out as he is only two years removed from an 11-3 campaign in which he posted a 3.01 ERA.
After struggling last season, he made nine starts in Triple-A, where he was 6-3 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Then, this spring, Worley had a 13.50 ERA and 2.53 WHIP in 10 2/3 innings before the Twins gave up on him.
The Pirates are hoping they can get Worley back to being the pitcher he was in 2011.
If they do, it will help answer some of the questions surrounding the back of the rotation at the moment.
It will be very interesting for sure to see what kind of role Worley will have with this current Pirates team, but this could turn out to be a nice low-risk/high-reward move for the Bucs.