Pirates Sign Kent Emanuel To Minor League Deal


The Pirates have signed left-hander Kent Emanuel to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at He will presumably be invited to major league Spring Training.

Emanuel, 31 in June, was a third round pick of the Astros back in 2013. Though he came up as a starter, he was gradually shifted into spending more time in the bullpen, which led to a solid 3.90 ERA in Triple-A in 2019. He was given a spot on the 40-man roster at the end of that season to prevent him from reaching minor league free agency.

The few seasons since getting that roster spot have been tumultuous, however. He received an 80-game suspension in 2020 after testing positive for the banned substance Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, though he expressed bewilderment at that fact. In 2021, he was able to make his major league debut by tossing 17 2/3 innings over 10 appearances with a 2.55 ERA, but then was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Though he required the internal brace procedure instead of the more common Tommy John surgery, he was still facing an extended absence. He was put on waivers at the end of the season and claimed by the Phillies. He spent all of 2022 in the minors, first on a rehab assignment and then an optional assignment. The Phillies tried converting him back to starting, as he made 13 starts in the minors last year, tossing 58 innings with a 2.64 ERA. But he was placed on the IL in September with a shoulder strain and then outrighted in November.

It’s unclear if the Pirates plan to deploy Emanuel as a starter or move him back to the bullpen. Either way, he’ll provide some non-roster depth to a pitching staff with some uncertainty. The rotation will likely consist of Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, JT Brubaker, Rich Hill and Vince Velasquez, but the latter two are on one-year deals and could become midsummer trade candidates if the Bucs are out of contention. In terms of left-handed relief, the only two options on the 40-man roster are Jarlín García and Rule 5 draftee Jose Hernandez.

Emanuel will look to work his way onto the roster alongside other invitees like Caleb Smith, Ángel Perdomo, Rob Zastryzny and Daniel Zamora. If he does earn a spot, he still has an option year and plenty of affordable control, with still between one and two years of service time.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login