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Pirates Designate Steven Brault For Assignment

The Pirates announced they’ve designated southpaw Steven Brault for assignment. The move clears space on the 40-man roster for José Quintana, whose previously-reported one-year deal has been made official.

Brault had been eligible for arbitration, so today’s DFA will function as an early non-tender. He’d been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for a $2.2MM salary. That’s not an exorbitant sum, but Brault’s coming off a tough season — one in which he missed a few months on account of a forearm strain. The 29-year-old ended up making just seven starts, working 27 2/3 innings of 5.86 ERA ball with a below-average 15% strikeout percentage.

That tough 2021 showing looks as if it’ll bring an end to Brault’s six-season tenure in Pittsburgh, but he’s only a year removed from being a capable member of the Bucs’ rotation. He started ten of his eleven appearances in the shortened 2020 season, pitching to a 3.38 ERA across 42 2/3 frames. That strong run prevention mark wasn’t entirely supported by ERA estimators, which pegged Brault as more of a back-of-the-rotation type. The sinkerballer induced grounders on nearly half the balls in play against him that year, though, and he’s typically done a solid job keeping the ball on the ground over the past few seasons.

Pittsburgh will now have to trade or waive Brault in the coming days. If another team were to acquire him via one of those avenues, he’d remain under control via arbitration for the next two seasons. If he passes through waivers unclaimed, Brault would have the right to refuse an outright assignment in favor of minor league free agency.

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