Ben Cherrington and the Pirates have made their first free agent signings post lockout.
The team announced Tuesday morning the signings of free agent first baseman Daniel Vogelbach and right-handed pitcher Heath Hembree. Vogelbach gets a one-year $1M deal with a $1.5 option for 2023, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. He adds Vogelbach can earn $400K in incentives. Hembree’s deal is for one year with a $2.125M salary.
Vogelbach spent last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and in 93 games, hit .219 with eight doubles, nine home runs and 24 RBI. Two years prior, Vogelbach was an All-Star with the Seattle Mariners hitting a career-high 30 home runs with 76 RBI and 92 walks.
The 29-year old has played with Seattle (2016-20), Toronto (2020) and Milwaukee (2020-21) during his career in which he’s a career .209 hitter with 31 doubles, 49 home runs and 131 RBI in 337 games.
The left-handed hitter will likely be a candidate for the Pirates designated hitter spot in the lineup, as well as time at first base.
Hembree will look to earn a spot in the Pirates 2022 bullpen.
Last season with Cincinnati and the NY Mets, Hembree made 60 relief appearances and struck out a career-high 83 batters in 58 innings of work. The 83 strike outs finished tied for 11th among all National League relievers. The right-hander also finished with a career-high 9 saves and limited right-handed batters to a batting average of just .181.
Prior to last season, Hembree spent time with Philadelphia (2020), Boston (2014-20) and San Francisco (2013).
To make room for these players on the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed RHP Blake Cederlind (right elbow) and Nick Mears (right elbow) on the 60-day injured list.