In an effort to resurrect his career Micah Owings is returning to the team that drafted him, signing a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks that includes an invitation to spring training.
Owings was Arizona’s third-round pick in 2005 and spent the first two seasons of his career with the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Reds in late 2008 as part of the Adam Dunn deal.
Owings once looked like a solid young pitcher who brought additional value to the table with his bat, but at this point his hitting might be ahead of his pitching. He has a 16-23 record and 5.59 ERA in 258 innings since a relatively promising rookie season in 2007, but has hit .274 with five homers and a .468 slugging percentage in 134 plate appearances during that same time.
This might be his last chance to make it as a pitcher who can also hit, but if the Diamondbacks get creative Owings could have more value as a pinch-hitter or part-time first baseman/outfielder who can also pitch, much like how the Brewers used Brooks Kieschnick in 2003 and 2004.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”