Age: 32
Born: March 3, 1979
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: International FA, Montreal Expos, 1996
How Acquired: Minor League FA
Agent: SFX


This will be Julio’s second go-round with the Pirates, although the first was very brief. They signed him to a minor league contract at the end of August 2009, with a week to go in the AAA season. With callups to the major league team expected, they probably did it just to be sure the Indians didn’t run out of pitchers. Julio’s had a strange career. He had one outstanding minor league season when he was moved to the bullpen, then one outstanding major league season as the Orioles’ closer. The next year he began struggling with his control, which hadn’t been a significant problem in the minors, and he never fully recovered. He also developed gopher ball problems at the same time as the control problems. For much of his career, his fastball averaged 95-96 mph, but he lost a couple mph in the late 2000’s. He throws a slider and change, with the former generally being an effective pitch and the latter not. The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal for 2011.

1997-2000: Made halting progress as starter through Orioles’ system, until 2000. Generally didn’t have impressive K or hit rates. Struggling in 2000 despite repeating high A as control took a turn for the worse.

2001-02: Went from AA to majors as career took off with move to bullpen. Posted much higher K rates and gave up far fewer hits in minors. Had good season as Orioles’ closer in 2002.

2002-07: Struggled continually due to control and gopher ball problems. Rebounded to some extent in 2006-07 as HR rate dropped some, but control problems continued.

2008-09: Spent much of the two seasons in minors as control problems got worse. Velocity also dropped, from 94-96 to 93-94, with peak dropping from 98-99 to about 96. After joining Indianapolis, pitched poorly in four outings, allowing three unearned runs to go with four earned ones.

2010: Went to independent ball and did well. Was pitching fairly well in winter ball in Venezuela when Pirates signed him.

Julio did not get an invitation to major league camp, so he won’t be trying out for the major league roster. It’s also not safe to assume he’ll be in AAA. He’ll only be 32 in early March so it’s not beyond question that he could get his problems straightened out, but he’ll obviously have quite a bit to prove.

Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
2011: Minor League Contract
2009: $950,000 (minor league contract)
2008: $1,000,000
2007: $3,600,000 (avoided arbitration)
2006: $2,525,000 (avoided arbitration)
2005: $2,500,000 (avoided arbitration)
2004: $385,000
2003: $350,000
2002: $216,000
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 1997
MLB Debut: 4/26/2001
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2001)
MLB Service Time: 7.043
February 14, 1996: Signed by the Montreal Expos as an international free agent.
December 22, 2000: Acquired by the Baltimore Orioles from the Montreal Expos in exchange for Ryan Minor.
April 24, 2001: Contract purchased by the Baltimore Orioles.
January 21, 2006: Acquired by the New York Mets from the Baltimore Orioles along with John Maine in exchange for Kris Benson.
May 24, 2006: Acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Orlando Hernandez.
March 26, 2007: Acquired by the Florida Marlins from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Yusmeiro Petit.
May 13, 2007: Acquired by the Colorado Rockies from the Florida Marlins in exchange for Byung-Hyun Kim..
January 31, 2008: Signed by the Cleveland Indians as a minor league free agent.
March 25, 2008: Contract purchased by the Cleveland Indians.
May 28, 2008: Designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians.
June 13, 2008: Signed by the Atlanta Braves to a minor league contract.
September 2, 2008: Contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves.
December 4, 2008: Signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as a free agent.
June 2, 2009: Released by the Milwaukee Brewers.
June 9, 2009: Signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as a minor league free agent.
August 31, 2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
January 10, 2011: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.