Free agent relief pitcher Juan Nicasio has signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team announced. Ken Rosenthal of Fox was the first to say that it was close. According to Rosenthal, the deal is worth $3 million.
Nicasio, 29, will join a Pirates bullpen that had a team ERA of 2.67. Nicasio was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers, making him a free agent. He entered the league back in 2011 as a starter for the Colorado Rockies. In the first three years of Nicasio’s tenure with the Rockies, he started in all of his appearances. In fact, Nicasio made his debut in 2011 when he threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals and got the win. He then moved to the bullpen in 2014 in a year where his ERA was at its highest in his career at 5.38. Nicasio spent last year with the Dodgers as long relief with a 3.86 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 58.1 innings pitched. Once the Dodgers decided to non-tender Nicasio, it was clear he would be playing for a new team in 2016.
Nicasio is expected to fill a similar role with the Pirates that he had as a member of the Dodgers. He will most likely be used as someone to pitch a lot of innings if a starter is pulled early. The Pirates lost set up man Joakim Soria to the Kansas City Royals on a three-year deal. Antonio Bastardo is also a free agent, and Robert Murray reported that Bastardo’s representatives met with the Chicago Cubs. Nicasio is by no means a major addition, but a team can never have too much pitching depth.