With Opening Day arriving on Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates have finally set their 25-man roster for the first game of the 2014 season. For the most part, the moves weren’t unexpected; left-handed reliever Andy Oliver was outrighted to triple-A, first baseman Travis Ishikawa made the 25-man roster, catcher Chris Stewart and lefty starter Jeff Locke were both placed on the 15-day DL and right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro was designated for assignment.
Everyone knew the Pirates had to make a move to either trade a reliever or to designate a reliever for assignment. The Pirates were unable to find a trade partner for Mazzaro, so they had to DFA him. The team now has 10 days to trade Mazzaro, or he will be placed on waivers.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington doesn’t expect Mazzaro to reach the waiver process, however. Huntington said it would be a surprise if a trade doesn’t happen within the 10 day window.
Huntington on trading Mazzaro: “We’ve had conversations. If he gets to the outright waiver process, it will be a surprise to us.”
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) March 29, 2014
The interest in Mazzaro shouldn’t come as a surprise. He excelled in his lone season with the Pirates. In 73.2 innings in 2013, Mazzaro pitched to a 2.81 ERA with a 3.31 FIP. He showed decent control with 2.57 BB/9, which made up for his weak 5.62 K/9. Like most of the Pirates’ pitching staff, Mazzaro had a very good 52.2 ground-ball percentage last season.
When the Pirates traded for Mazzaro prior to the 2013 regular season, it was a questionable decision. In four seasons prior to being acquired by the Bucs, his best season resulted in a 4.30 FIP and a 5.73 ERA. Nonetheless, the acquisition worked out well for the Pirates. It will be interesting to see how the Mazzaro situation develops over the next 10 days. If what Huntington said is true, the team should have no trouble finding a taker for Mazzaro’s services.