The Pittsburgh Pirates’ acquisition of Connor Joe was obviously not a significant move.
The most interesting thing about Joe from a Pirates’ angle is that he was originally drafted by the organization. They selected him in the supplemental first round in 2014 from the University of San Diego.
The Pirates traded Joe to the Atlanta Braves during the 2017 season for beloved utility infielder Sean Rodriguez. Soon thereafter, Rodriguez hit a game-winning grand slam and was immortalized the year in a bobblehead giveaway at PNC Park.
Joe, meanwhile, bounced around. He landed in the major leagues for eight games with the San Francisco Giants then played in 174 games for the Colorado Rockies over the last two seasons.
He is a .247/.346/.385 career hitter in 182 games.
The Pirates got Joe from the Rockies in a trade Sunday for minor league right-hander Nick Garcia. It got lost in the shuffle of Pittsburgh sports news highlighted by the Steelers beating Carolina and the Penguins losing to Carolina.
However, Joe is a somewhat significant figure in my household.
For openers, my wife has only ever caught one foul ball at a baseball game. That was during Arizona Fall League play in 2016.
Well, she didn’t really catch it. It’s more like she picked the ball up after it bounced on the Surprise Stadium concourse 12 times in a ballpark where there might have been 100 people in attendance.
But she went to a game she could care less about and knew no one playing yet got a souvenir. It made her smile and suddenly humoring me with an afternoon at the ballpark became more palatable.
As they say — happy wife, happy life.
I relayed this story to Joe in May when the Rockies played a three-game series against the Pirates at PNC Park. He chuckled and offered to sign the ball.
I thanked him for the offer but said it would be unethical as a media member to get an autograph from a player. I didn’t have the heart to tell Joe that I also wasn’t sure where the ball was nearly six years later.
From a playing standpoint, it is hard to tell how much Joe is going to help the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is a right-handed hitter with some positional versatility along with a modicum of power and speed.
Joe, 30, hit just .238/.338/.359 with seven home runs and six stolen bases in 111 games last season. After having a .287/.370/.441 slash line through his first 36 games, Joe batted .211/.321/.314 in his final 75 games.
Connor Joe might be useful enough to stick with the Pirates in 2023 at the bottom of their roster. It would seem doubtful his role would be much bigger than that.
Yet I know one person who will be pulling for him.