Recent Posts

Pirates Sell “26th Man” To KBO


The Pirates made a very good free agent signing this offseason. No, it wasn’t Jung-ho Kang or Corey Hart. No, it wasn’t bringing back AJ Burnett or resigning Francisco Liriano. The free agent signing I’m referring to was Deibinson Romero. Many Pirates fans are saying “Who?”

Deibinson Romero is a 28-year old minor-league veteran that gained a little notieriety in the offseason when Steamer projected Romero to have the most Major League WAR for all those minor leaguers granted minor league free agency. Steamer said that if given 500 ABs, playing 3B Romero would have produced 1.9 WAR.

To put that into context, since Jeff King was traded to the Royals 20 years ago the Pirates have had only 7 seasons of 1.9 WAR from a player mostly playing 3B:

Aramis Ramirez – 2001 – 4.7 WAR

Rob Mackowiak – 2005 – 2.0 WAR

Freddy Sanchez – 2006 – 4.6 WAR

Andy LaRoche – 2009 – 2.0 WAR

Pedro Alvarez – 2012 – 2.2 WAR

Pedro Alvarez – 2013 – 3.0 WAR

Josh Harrison – 2014 – 5.0 WAR

(Mackowiak only played 65 games there but that was his main position)

Now one would say that there is no chance Romero could have produced at the ML level, but he did win the Player of the Month in the International League for April and was hitting better in AAA than people we think might have a future with the Pirates: Elias Diaz and Tony Sanchez.

Also he plays a good defensive 3B so that alone opens doors. Brent Morel played way more games than he should have last year by being a good glove at the hot corner.

Finally, if Romero did stick on the 25-man roster at 3B or backup at the corners (maybe he could even play RF) he would have had 6 years of control making him a bargain for a team always looking for bargains. Romero was really a “26th man” waiting in AAA: someone not on the 25-man roster nor the 40-man, costing nothing but there waiting for an injury to fill in. These assets are very valuable over an entire ML season.

So the Pirates just sold something that has been in short supply over the last 20 years to the KBO. What does this tell us?

– Harrison/Kang have 3B covered for the conceivable future. Why have a 1.9 WAR player playing 3B when you could have J-Hay with his potential 4-5 WAR skills at third with Kang backing up?

What about Kang or J-Hay moving to 2B?

– I think this might show that 2B is not a concern for Huntington. Harrison and Kang could/should be in the picture for 2B with Walker leaving in FA in two years or staying and shifting to 1B (what I think will happen). This would open some, or many, starts at 3B.

– I would say this tells that Huntington is pretty confident in Alen Hanson’s ability to man 2B by 2016. I think he’ll be a mid season callup and will man 2B for a long time. This will allow Kang and J-Hay to focus on 3B and backing up 2B and SS, which again proves Romero unnecessary.

Conspiracy theory?

– We just took the KBO’s best player away when the Pirates signed Kang. A couple months later we give them back a player that might end up hitting 40 HRs over there and becoming a star. Is this a gesture of goodwill to a league that the Pirates want to make serious inroads into in the future? Specifically, Kang’s ex-teammate, 1B Byung-ho Park?

PS – In writing this piece I discovered that Freddy Sanchez started 25 games at SS in 2006. Back when we didn’t care about defense…..

About Michael Bradley (21 Articles)
Michael is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh
Contact: Twitter

2 Comments on Pirates Sell “26th Man” To KBO

  1. I think the Pirates management has earned some goodwill by letting players have opportunities elsewhere when they weren’t going to have them in Pittsburgh. Given that Romero is already 28, even if he saw some time in Pittsburgh, he wasn’t a long-term commodity for the Pirates and I’m guessing he’ll get paid a lot more in the KBO.

    I don’t think this gives the Pirates an in for the KBO…that’s all about whomever posts the highest fee (and the next time the Pirates will have to use the [current calendar year + 1] formula to beat out someone else).

    Goodwill won’t get you Park, but it might get you another player like Romero who will be eager to sign with the Bucs because they won’t tie him down.

    • Michael Bradley // May 27, 2015 at 5:26 PM // Reply

      Nice points. Having those type of players is a nice luxury. Hope it does open some doors.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.