The Pittsburgh Pirates has just lost pitcher Vance Worley to the Baltimore Orioles. The waiver claim, which was made on Tuesday, has trimmed down Pittsburgh's 2016 rotation options. The move gives the Baltimore another solid arm that can be used either as a potentially last starter or long relief man. The Orioles designated Jorge Rondon for assignment to make room for Worley on the team's 40-man roster.
Worley, who is nicknamed "The Vanimal" by his peers, is a fastball pitcher who utilizes a mix of a four-seamer and two-seamer that run about 89 to 92 mph. He pitched in 71.2 innings in the last season while splitting time between the Pirates' rotation and bullpen.
The 28-year-old began the season in Pittsburgh rotation while fellow pitcher Charlie Morton is recovering from his offseason surgery. He went to the bullpen when Morton came back and was designated at the trade deadline when the Pirates signed Joe Blanton.
Worley is due for arbitration for the second time in his career and made $2.45 million this season as a Super Two player. He is also eligible for a raise in 2016, so it is possible that Baltimore will decide to non-tender Worley next month. In the meantime, they added him to contribute to the team's pitching depth. He will be joining a staff that already features Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Miguel Gonzalez.
Another Pirates pitcher has hit free agency for the first time this winter. J.A. Happ is currently in the open market, but he might not be in it for long. According to a report by TribLive Sports' Rob Biertempfel, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is interested in gaining Happ back.
"There is interest. It's just a matter of how it all comes together, how it works for him and how it works for us," Huntington said when asked whether the team will consider Happ to fill in one rotation spot for next year. The pitcher also expressed his intention of returning if given the chance. "It's a team I would definitely consider, absolutely. Whatever happens, happens. I'm happy with where I'm at right now, and we'll see what's down the road," Happ mentioned.
The last season did not start well for the 33-year-old. He pitched to a 4.64 ERA with a 6.8 K/9 and a 2.7 K/9 in 21 starts for the Seattle Mariners. However, Happ performed well after that. Aside from lowering his BB/9 by nearly a full 1.0 per nine, he also had an incredible 5.31 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is easily the best on Pittsburgh's starting staff.