Pirates Sign Austin Hedges to One-Year Deal

Pirates Sign Austin Hedges to One-Year Deal
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed catcher Austin Hedges. They have agreed on a one-year five million deal this past Saturday. The deal was first reported by Jon Heyman. The deal is pending a physical. The 30-year old backstop played for Cleveland Guardians last season, and was a key member of getting them to the playoffs with his leadership.

Veteran with Defensive Skills

Hedges will bring his veteran leadership and defensive skills to one of the youngest teams in all of baseball. Along with excellent calling of pitches, he has thrown out 30% of runners throughout his career. The league average during his time in major league baseball is 26%. He has experience working with young pitchers and mentors them on pitch selection, and the overall aspect of being a major league pitcher. He is well respected by his teammates and is a leader both on the field, and in the clubhouse.

Depth was Needed

One of the biggest issues that this team had entering the offseason was behind the plate. They had a lot of misfortune at the catching position in 2022. They traded away veteran backstop Jacob Stallings. Then, no one expected Roberto Perez to blow out his hamstring, and miss most of the season. At this point, it isn’t yet known if he will even return to the Pirates. Jason Delay played in 57 games, and has not been added to the 40-man roster as of this writing. The only catcher on the roster is prospect Endy Rodriguez.

Pirates Pitching

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed catcher Austin Hedges. His experience working with young pitchers will be vital to both starters and relievers. The Pirates have a very young starting staff with in JT Brubaker at 29 years of age. Other projected starters are Roansy Contreras at 23 years of age, Mitch Keller, who will turn 27 in April and Johan Oviedo will be 25 in March. They are considered the other starters, so having a veteran catcher was certainly needed.

Will he be Full-Time?

The Pitt does have an opportunity to be the full-time catcher. We know his offense is below average as in 105 games with Cleveland in 2022, he hit just .161. However, they might decide they need his defense and leadership more than his offensive skills. They could still be looking at signing another veteran catcher to compete for a starting job with Hedges. They expect top prospect Endy Rodriguez to begin the 2023 season in Triple-A, but if he has an excellent spring training, he might be the on the opening day roster.

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Players Mentioned:

Austin Hedges, Jacob Stallings, Roberto Perez, Jason Delay, Endy Rodriguez, JT Brubaker, Roansy Contreras, Mitch Keller, Johan Oviedo

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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