After a disappointing 2017 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates will need to upgrade many areas of the team this offseason. The 2018 bullpen will need a second left handed reliever and Kevin Siegrist should be a top target for Pittsburgh.
The bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a total of 546 innings last year with an ERA of 3.84, good for sixth in the league. With the start of free agency still a few weeks away, teams such as Pittsburgh who are not in the postseason should be using this time to start thinking of what players they will target this winter. Now that he has cleared waivers and will join this year’s free agent class, Kevin Siegrist should be someone that the Pirates pursue in the next few months.
Siegrist threw four different pitches last season but primarily leans on his four seam fastball (thrown 62.65 percent of the time in 2017. He also mixes in a changeup (17.65) and curveball (16.91) and a rarely used slider, a pitch that he threw just 19 times during last season. The four seam fastball was utilized about 80 percent of the time to begin an at-bat, and Siegrist typically went to it again once he was ahead of the hitter. But even though his fastball appears to be his bread and butter, his breaking pitches last year generated very good swing and miss results especially when he had two strikes on the hitter. His slider and curveball generated a swing and miss 20 and 21.25 percent of the time, respectively.
Other than Rivero……?
Outside of Felipe Rivero, the Pittsburgh Pirates do have lefties Wade LeBlanc, Jack Leathersich Dan Runzler and Steven Brault on the roster but the team should definitely pursue an upgrade such as Siegrist. Siegrist, who split last season between the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, had two very good seasons with the Redbirds in 2015 and 2016 before hitting a bump in 2017.
His K/9 last year, while still a respectable 9.84, was slightly below his career average of 10.48. His BB/9 jumped dramatically, to 5.03 last year after 3.79 in 2016. His FIP of 4.38 indicates that his ERA of 4.81 was a little higher than his performance indicated that it should have been, but one reason that Siegrist saw just a spike in ERA and FIP can be attributed to the BABIP of .337 that opposing hitters posted against him. However, given that the BABIP was so high, it is reasonable to assume that some luck was involved.
The reason that Siegrist saw his numbers balloon can be blamed on a few appearances that were out right disasters. On April 10th at Washington he recorded just one out and gave up four runs on two hits and two walks. A little over a month later on May 20th the San Francisco Giants tagged him for three runs on five hits in one and a third innings of work. Then on July 29th against the Arizona Diamondbacks he coughed up four runs on three hits and three walks in a third of an inning. While there were other outings when Siegrist gave up a run or two, these three appearances are the main contributing factor as to why his ERA and FIP were so high. He gave up a total of 21 earned runs in 39.1 innings last year. Those three appearances saw him give up 11 earned runs in just two innings. So outside of those meltdowns, Siegrist was a fairly solid relief pitcher last season.
Siegrist’s last contract was for one year and $1.6 million, so he’ll probably be looking for a multi-year deal this time around. If the Pittsburgh Pirates were comfortable offering a multi-year deal to someone like Daniel Hudson who had some red flags entering 2017, the team should have very few reservations about pursuing Siegrist. The team needs another strong lefty reliever in the bullpen for the middle innings and Siegrist is a much better option than the the southpaws already on the 40 man roster.
Photo credit – Keith Allison – Flickr Creative Commons