Jen Langosch is reporting tonight that the Pirates have signed lefty Jo-Jo Reyes to a minor league deal and from Reyes’ own tweet, it’s probably safe to assume that he’ll be a non-roster invite to spring training. Reyes spent 2011 with the Blue Jays and Orioles after being traded from the Braves to the Royals in 2010. He was drafted by the Braves in the second round in 2003.
If Reyes’ name sounds familiar to you (and not because Jo-Jo is a funny name), it’s probably because he managed to lose a whole bunch of consecutive starts between 2008 and 2011 with the Braves and Blue Jays. It’s true that Reyes’ big league numbers are pretty ugly: he’s got a 6.05 ERA, he’s got a 1.5 HR/9 rate, and his K/BB ratio is 1.47 (5.8:3.9, for the individual rates).
It’s not hard to see why the Pirates would be interested in Reyes, though. His minor league numbers are very good, from strikeouts to walks to homers, even though he’s 27 now and the minor league numbers haven’t translated to the big leagues. 27 isn’t ancient, though. If you want to parse the numbers, his K/BB ratio in 2011 (1.81) was the best of his career, even if it was torpedoed by an awful home run rate. If the Pirates can help him rein in his control and his home run problem (two things that they’ve had success with in the past), they might end up with a useful pitcher. It’s also possible that he’d be more useful as a LOOGY, which teams can always use.
That’s likely a long-shot, but since it’s a minor league deal it’s at least a shot worth taking.