On Monday, the Pirates officially announced the one-year signing of left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana. To make room for Quintana on the roster, the Pirates designated fellow left-hander Steven Brault for assignment.
Brault was acquired by the Pirates in 2015 from the Orioles in the deal that sent Travis Snider to Baltimore. He made his Major League debut with the Pirates in 2016, and in total spent six years wearing a Pirates uniform.
The 29-year-old spent the first few seasons of his Pirates’ career splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. It was in 2019 that Brault spent more time in the rotation making a career-high 19 starts (25 appearances). 2020 served as a breakout year for Brault who made 11 appearances (10 starts) and pitched to a 3.38 ERA/3.92 FIP, anchoring the Pirates’ rotation.
Brault was on track to be the Pirates’ opening day starter before a lat injury kept him out of action until August. In total, Brault struggled through his seven appearances in 2021 before another lat injury ended his season prematurely. In total for 2021, Brault went 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA/4.62 ERA.
Brault’s Pirate career ends with a 12-18 record in 107 games pitched (52 starts). He posted a 4.77 ERA/4.67 FIP with 291 strikeouts in 343.1 innings.
In addition to pitching, Brault was no slouch with the bat for a pitcher. The lefty-swinging Brault hit .258 for his Pirates’ career and launched a 441-foot home run against the Rockies in 2019.
Eligible for arbitration for the second time this offseason, Brault was a non-tender candidate. MLBTradeRumors.com projected Brault to earn $2.2M in 2022. The increased salary, combined with the injuries Brault suffered last season, proved to be too big of a risk for the Pirates to take.
Brault’s Pirate career will go down as a mixed bag of sorts. He showed flashes on the mound at times but struggled with consistency and command at times throughout his career. Perhaps, Pirate fans will remember Brault for that moonshot of a home run he hit at Coors Field. Maybe even more so, Brault might be remembered for his fantastic singing voice that was on display during the National Anthem at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and even his own album.