Pirates Sign Power Hitter Daniel Vogelbach and Pitcher Heath Hembree

Graphics courtesy of Pirates Twitter account

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The Pittsburgh Pirates announced this morning on Twitter that they have signed infielder Daniel Vogelbach and right-handed pitcher Heath Hembree, each to 1-year deals.  To make room for Hembree and Vogelbach on the 40-man roster, the Pirates also have placed right-handed pitchers Blake Cederlind and Nick Mears on the 60-day injured list.

Vogelbach is one of the most recognizable players in baseball for his sheer size.  He looks like a guy you'd run into down at the steel mill swinging a hammer.  At an even 6-foot, and 270 pounds, he packs a punch.  When given the chance at a full season, and if he stays healthy, Vogelbach has shown he can hammer balls out of the park.  

As a left-handed hitter he fits right in at PNC Park.  The Clemente Wall seats are certainly within reach for Vogelbach every at-bat.  In 2019, he had 30 homeruns for the Seattle Mariners, and he had 9 homers in just 215 at-bats last season.  With the universal DH being implemented this season, the Pirates were in need of a powerful bat, and Vogelbach fits that need.

Heath Hembree is a 33-year old bullpen arm, who has bounced around the league the last two seasons after 6 seasons with the Boston Red Sox.  He has a career ERA of 4.19, which is decent.  However, he mightily struggled in 2020 with the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies, and pitched to a 5.59 ERA with the New York Mets and the Cincinnati Reds last season.  In 2019, Hembree had a 3.86 ERA and a struck out 46 hitters in just 39.2 innings pitched.  

The Pirates desperately needed bullpen arms even to just field a full major league roster.  The pitching, both starting and relieving, was brutal last season, especially in the middle innings.  Hembree fills a need and has had some great seasons with the Red Sox earlier in his career.  

Details are still to come on both of these deals, but I really like both of these signings.  Especially on one-year deals.