The Pirates announced that they have acquired infielder/outfielder Josh VanMeter from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league right-hander Listher Sosa. To make room on the 40-man roster roster for VanMeter, Pittsburgh designated outfielder Jared Oliva for assignment.
VanMeter was acquired by Arizona in a 2020 deadline deal with the Reds. Last season, he hit .212 with a .651 OPS with 17 doubles and six home runs in 112 games for the Snakes, on par with his career slash line of .212/.300/.364. Defensively, VanMeter has played all over, appearing in games at first, second and third and both corner outfield spots.
The left-handed hitting VanMeter is known for his keen eye at the plate, with a walk rate above 10% for his career. While the results may not have shown it to date, VanMeter makes good contact and has posted above-average exit-velocity numbers for his career, giving the Pirates reason to believe there are signs for untapped potential offensively.
Arizona designated VanMeter for assignment on Sunday. Even though he is on the 40-man roster, VanMeter is out of minor league options, meaning the Pirates will have to keep him on the big league roster or risk losing him elsewhere. So far this spring, the 27-year-old has just two hits in 14 at-bats and has driven in a run.
Sosa is a 20-year-old right-hander who pitched the majority of last season out of the bullpen in rookie ball. He posted a 4.31 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 31.1 innings of work in 2021.
Oliva was a seventh-round draft pick by the Bucs in 2017 out of the University of Arizona. Over the last two seasons, he appeared in 26 games with the Pirates at the Major League level. He’s slashed .179/.220/.214 in 59 career plate appearances. Oliva posted a .686 OPS in 64 games with Triple-A Indianapolis last season.
After the moves, the Pirates 40-man roster spot still stands at 40, and at least one further corresponding move will be needed when the Pirates break camp to get a backup catcher on the roster. Opening Day is scheduled for a week from Thursday.