Pirates Claim Righthander Sean Poppen, Designate J.T. Riddle

The Pirates have claimed right-handed pitcher Sean Poppen off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.  To clear roster space, they’ve designated utility player J.T. Riddle for assignment.

Poppen was a 19th round draft pick by the Twins in 2016, out of Harvard.  He’s been a starter in the minors, with a 25-21 record and 3.38 ERA over 409.2 IP.  He’s generally put up good walk and strikeout numbers there, with a 2.9 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9.  He hasn’t been on any prospect lists that I can find.  He’s appeared in ten games with the Twins over the last two years, all relief appearances, with an ERA of 6.19, BB/9 of 5.1 and K/9 of 10.7.  His fastball sits around 94 mph and he throws a lot of sliders.

The Pirates signed Riddle as a free agent last January, inexplicably giving him a major league contract.  He started 19 of their 60 games this year, mostly at third or in the outfield.  He batted 149/174/224 and played poorly on defense at third.  He’s eligible for arbitration, so it wasn’t likely he was going to be around much longer anyway.

UNRELATED NOTE:  Jason Mackey has said on twitter that, according to his understanding, missing the “full” 60-game season will satisfy Edgar Santana’s 80-game suspension, so he won’t have to serve any more of it next season.  Mackey added that he doesn’t have official word on that.

UPDATE:  Not surprisingly, the Pirates also outrighted catcher Andrew Susac to AAA.