Pittsburgh Pirates sign C Nate Irving to minor league deal, release RHP Dan Urbina

According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed catcher Nate Irving to a minor league deal and released RHP Dan Urbina. These aren’t moves that will make headlines, and they clearly flew under the radar.

Irving is a 23-year-old catcher that was drafted in the 34th round of the 2014 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was released by Arizona back in October. Irving holds a career line of .258/.373/.299, and while the average is fine for a catcher, the slugging percentage is of concern; he doesn’t have a home run in his minor league career to date. It’s important to note, however, that he only has 97 at-bats in parts of two seasons. He also has a poor caught stealing percentage of 14%. Irving played at the University of Virginia with RHP Brandon Waddell, a fifth round pick of the Pirates in 2015.

Urbina is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who has pitched both as a starter and as a reliever during his minor league career. He was originally signed by the Pirates as an international free agent back in 2011. To date, Urbina holds an ERA of 5.59 and a WHIP of 1.56 in 157.2 innings pitched across parts of five seasons. While he allows a minuscule 0.8 HR/9IP, he walks 4.1 batters per nine innings, which is an issue. He had his best season in 2013 when he pitched to a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings of work.

Neither move should significantly impact the Pirates at the major or minor league level.

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