The Pittsburgh Pirates have added international bonus pool space from the Baltimore Orioles and St Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The first deal with the Orioles cost them right-handed pitcher Connor Loeprich, while the deal with the Cardinals involved left-handed pitcher Domingo Robles. The bonus pool space they received in return hasn’t been announced yet for either deal.
Robles split last season between Bradenton and Altoona, putting up strong stats in High-A, before hitting a wall at Double-A. Robles is a workhorse pitcher, who is still just 22 years old, despite six years in the system. He doesn’t throw hard, getting into the low-90s at times, but he has excellent command and a solid changeup. He switched from a big slow curve to a harder slider last year. Robles has just one more season before reaching minor league free agency and he wasn’t on the 60-man roster this year. He was a top 50 prospect (back-end) in the system for a time because he added velocity at a young age (18), but hasn’t been able to match that velocity since. The hope would have been that he added to it, not see a slight decline.
Loeprich just turned 23 last week. He was a 20th round pick in 2018, who split last year between Greensboro and Bradenton, while also splitting his time between relief and starting. In 96 innings last year, he had a 3.94 ERA, with 95 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP. He throws low-90s, with two solid off-speed pitches. He profiles as a middle reliever.
The Pirates already had international bonus pool space from the Chicago White Sox in the Jarrod Dyson deal. The signing period ends on October 15th, so you can guarantee that they have a target or targets in mind, since there was no rush to trade either of these players. The only reason either would be dealt is out of need to acquire more bonus pool space.