PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez to a one-year, $3.15 million contract in an attempt to give their young starting rotation a veteran presence.
The 30-year-old Velasquez spent last season working primarily as a reliever with the Chicago White Sox. Velasquez went 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in 27 appearances for Chicago, with nine starts. He pitched well down the stretch for the White Sox, posting a 2.92 ERA with 24 strikeouts in his final 11 games with Chicago.
The eight-year veteran has a career 34-47 record with a 4.93 ERA in 183 appearances, 136 of them starts, with Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego and Chicago. Velasquez joins a rotation that includes Mitch Keller, J.T. Brubaker, Roansy Contreras and potentially Johan Oviedo or Luis Ortiz, among others.
Though Velasquez worked in a flex role for Chicago, Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said Velasquez has a “starter’s repertoire.”
This is the second straight offseason Pittsburgh has signed a pitcher with a starter’s pedigree who had transitioned to the bullpen. The Pirates brought in Jose Quintana on a one-year and he responded by mentoring a young staff and pitching well before being traded to St. Louis at the deadline.