By Jason Shetler
On Wednesday, the Pirates acquired left-hander Jesse Biddle from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for reliever Yoervis Medina. This marks the second time this offseason that the Pirates and Phillies have completed a trade. Both sides worked out a trade for Charlie Morton back in December. Here now is my assessment of the Biddle deal.
Not long ago, Biddle was the #1 prospect in the Phillies system. While his control numbers in the minors have been erratic with a 4.4 BB/9, his strikeout ratio has been excellent at 8.8. Biddle posted a 4.95 ERA in 2015, but that was mainly due to pitching with a sore elbow, which required Tommy John surgery this offseason. He of course will miss the entire 2016 season.
Medina was claimed off waivers by the Pirates from the Chicago Cubs in December. The 27-year-old right-hander has put up a 3.08 ERA along with a 121 ERA+ in three seasons with the Mariners and Cubs. Medina was designated for assignment by the Pirates in late January, and was just recently outrighted to AAA.
While the Phillies are getting an above average reliever in Medina, they had to do so at the expense of giving up a left-handed starter with plenty of upside. Even though Biddle will be recovering from elbow surgery this year, age is on his side, as he’ll still be just 25 entering 2017. In addition, the Pirates obviously will have years of club control with him. If nothing else, he’ll provide much needed left-handed depth after this year, which is especially vital given the fact that Francisco Liriano is a free agent after 2017, and with the uncertainty of Jeff Locke’s future in Pittsburgh.