PITTSBURGH—One of the few weaknesses in an otherwise strong Pirates farm system is lefthanded pitching, which is why Pittsburgh dealt a player who was part of their present for a southpaw they feel has a chance to be part of their future.
The Pirates acquired Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named from the Orioles in a trade for outfielder Travis Snider. It was generally assumed Snider was next in line in right field if Gregory Polanco failed to show improvement following a disappointing rookie season.
“There are some things to like here," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said of Tarpley.
Being a lefty is one of them because Cody Dickson, who pitched at low Class A West Virginia, was the only southpaw among the Pirates' top 30 prospects at the time of the trade.
The Orioles selected Tarpley, who turns 22 on Feb. 17, in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC. He spent his freshman year at Southern California before transferring in order to become eligible for the draft.
Tarpley was 3-5, 3.68 in 13 games, including 12 starts, with short-season Aberdeen in 2014.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder's fastballs tops out at 96 mph and he complements it with a slider and changeup.
“He is an athletic, young lefthanded pitcher with good stuff, chance to start, starter indicators," Huntington said. “He throws strikes, gets ground balls, gets some swing-and-miss."
• Shortstop Cole Tucker, the Pirates' first-round draft pick last year, was expected to be ready for the beginning of spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb Sept. 1. .
• First baseman/outfielder Wes Freeman, who retired in 2012, will attempt a comeback this spring at 25. He hit .213/.272/.330 in five pro seasons following his selection in the 16th round of the 2008 draft.