PITTSBURGH — It’s hardly been a week since the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter from the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline.
After Rich Hill was dealt earlier in the day to the San Diego Padres, the Pirates had a clear void in their starting rotation.
So, general manager Ben Cherington looked across the state and swung a deal for Falter, a guy he has coveted for quite some time.
“Falter in particular has taken a lot of major league starts on a good team. He pitched in the playoffs. He’s someone we’ve had an eye on for two or three years. Excited to get him here with the Pirates and get to know him better,” Cherington said at the time of the trade.
Cherington finally got his man and Falter immediately got a shot in the big leagues with the Pirates.
The left-hander made his team debut over the weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Getting the start, Falter held the Brewers to one run on six hits across 4.0 innings while striking out a pair.
Falter’s first impression with his new club was a pretty good one. And hey, it’s nice to be wanted.
“I don’t ever think I’ve really felt like this throughout my career,” said Falter. “So, it was really nice and reassuring to hear that coming from this organization. It’s been really nice so far.”
When a player is dealt in the middle of the season as Falter was, it can be a chaotic and fast-moving adjustment.
When a new player joins a new team, there’s a lot to take care of right away. In addition to dealing with the logistics of being in a new place, there are 25 new teammates to meet, along with a brand-new coaching staff, medical team and many more faces throughout the organization.
Falter is no exception to having to learn on the fly.
“[It’s been] very crazy. Still learning everyone’s names,” Falter said. “But everyone’s been very awesome, very welcoming. Talked to a lot of these guys in here and getting to know them. I’m excited to see what the year holds for us.”
There is also all the behind the scenes stuff that goes on. Major League Baseball players are people, too. They have lives. They have families.
Packing up and moving everything at the drop of a hat would be stressful for anyone no matter the situation.
For Falter, one person in particular made his transition as smooth as it could have been.
“Honestly, it was very hectic. Thank God I had my fiancé, Kylee, here. She lives with me full-time so she gets the most brunt of everything,” he said. “She basically maps out our entire life. I’m like, ‘Alright sweetheart, we’re going over here,’ and she’ll pack up everything. She’s been really great so I can’t imagine doing it without her.”
Now that Falter and his wife-to-be have found a minute or two to catch their breath, the 26-year-old is eager for his new opportunity.
His 2023 season hadn’t gone the way he would have wanted. Prior to being traded, Falter was 0-7 with a 5.13 ERA across eight appearances (seven starts) with the Phillies.
While his 2023 season has been shaky, Falter is also a guy who has had success in the past. In the 2022 regular season, Falter finished the year 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 appearances (16 starts) with Philadelphia.
Maybe a change of scenery was needed. If that’s the case, Falter got it, and he’ll now look to get the results he wants.
“Just kinda get back to where I was last year before the playoffs. I would love to get back in that spot,” he said. “Oscar [Marin], [Radley Haddad] and I have been working on some stuff. We’re excited to put it into action and hopefully we can become a better pitcher here in the last couple months of the offseason.”
Falter’s next chance to get what he wants will come on Thursday afternoon when the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Atlanta Braves for the final game of their four-game series at PNC Park.