Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pirates Acquire Jeanmar Gomez

The Pirates have acquired right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for minor league outfielder Quincy Latimore. Gomez was placed on waivers by the Tribe on January 2nd and has been added to the 40-man roster. 

Gomez is primarily a sinker ball pitcher, mixing in a slider, curveball and changeup. He’s not particularly overpowering, normally pitching in the high-80s to low-90s, garnering a lot of ground balls with the sinker. Gomez has shown good control but has not been particularly dominant in the minors, only striking out more than 20% of batters faced during one season (at Double-A in 2009). The reliance on the defense behind him is highlighted by his performance at the Triple-A level. He’s pitched between Triple-A and the majors for each of the last three seasons, putting up ERAs of 5.18 in 2010, 2.55 in 2011 and 4.41 last year in the minors. His FIP shows improvement, dropping from 4.76 in 2010 to the mid-3s over the last two seasons (3.58 and 3.55). 

Gomez has struggled over the course of his major league career. He has a career 5.18 ERA (4.88 FIP) over 206.2 innings. His SIERA stands at 4.66 and xFIP is 4.58, which would represent a slight improvement if he could pitch to those levels. Keith Law labels Gomez as a 6th starter, however he’s out of options so would have to clear waivers to become minor league depth. Even without Francisco Liriano it would be hard to see how Gomez would find a spot in the rotation, so will likely have a better shot at making the club pitching out of the bullpen then the rotation. Gomez is essentially replacing Rick VandenHurk on the roster and, like the Dutchman, is probably behind Chris Leroux and Vin Mazzaro in the battle for the long reliever spot in the pen. 

In return for Gomez, the Pirates sent Quincy Latimore to the Indians. Latimore has a lot of raw power, but struggles with his plate discipline. The contact issues have lead to low batting averages/on-base percentages over the course of his minor league career so far; however outfielder did show some improvement last season at the plate, increasing his walk rate to 8.2% and reducing the strikeouts to 22.7% as he repeated the Double-A level. At this point I’d label Latimore more as a project than a prospect. He’ll turn 24 in February, so is really more of a low-risk high-reward acquisition for the Tribe as he does have some upside if he can continue to show improvement at the plate, but it is likely that Latimore is a player that the Pirates won’t miss.