Perpetually on the lookout for cost-controllable pitching options, the Pittsburgh Pirates added some additional depth to their roster Wednesday afternoon. The team completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers, acquiring left-hander Andy Oliver in exchange for catcher Ramon Cabrera. Oliver will join other potential starting options in competition come Spring Training, including Zach Stewart and Vin Mazzaro, who were both acquired in the past week.
Originally a 2nd Round pick in the 2009 Draft, Oliver has made seven starts for the Tigers over the past two seasons – going 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in 31.2 innings of work, struggling with his control (6.0 BB/9). Oliver has seen more consistent success across his minor league career, however, though he hasn’t been stellar by any means. Making 77 appearances (68 starts) over the past three seasons, Oliver holds a career minor league mark of 22-29 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.485 WHIP in 395.1 innings of work almost entirely at Triple-A.
There was a fair amount of speculation towards the end of the 2012 season that the Tigers may look to convert Oliver into a reliever, thinking that his stuff would translate better out of the bullpen than it has in the starting rotation. Such a move may still be possible in Pittsburgh, though he’s expected to come to Spring Training in consideration for a role in the rotation first and foremost.
Cabrera batted .278/.343/.370 over 433 plate appearances this past season, mostly with Pittsburgh’s Double-A affiliate. The 23 year old Venezuelan was originally signed as an international free agent by the Pirates prior to the 2008 season.