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Report: Pirates to Sign Eric Lauer to Minor League Deal

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Eric Lauer, Pittsburgh Pirates

Add another name into the starting rotation competition. The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a minor-league deal with left-handed starter Eric Lauer, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Lauer had spent the last four seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he made 67 appearances/60 starts. He began his career with the San Diego Padres before he was traded to Milwaukee in the 2019-20 offseason as part of a four-player swap.

Across six seasons in the big leagues, Lauer has gone 36-37 with a 4.30 ERA in 120 appearances/112 starts.

His best stretch came from 2021-22 with the Brewers. Combined between the two seasons, Lauer went 18-12 with a 3.47 ERA and struck out 274 batters in 277.1 innings pitched.

The 28-year-old fell on hard times recently. During the 2023 season, Lauer went 4-6 with a 6.56 ERA in 10 appearances and surrendered a whopping 16 home runs in 46.2 innings pitched. Lauer’s struggles led to him being sent to the minor leagues in the middle of June, where he remained for the rest of the regular season.

The southpaw has pitched well at PNC Park in his career. He’s gone 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA across five appearances (four starts) at the Pirates’ home yard. Lauer fits the profile of which general manager Ben Cherington favors as a left-hander who doesn’t necessarily rely on his velocity.

Even with that being true, a decrease in velocity was one of the reasons for Lauer’s struggles last season. After averaging a career-best 93.4 mph on his fastball in 2022, it dipped down to 90.9 mph last year, which was the lowest of his career.

With Eric Lauer now in the equation, the Pirates competition for one of the final two starting rotation spots got even deeper. Mitch Keller has already been announced as the Pirates’ opening day starter. Offseason acquisitions Martín Pérez and Marco Gonzales will accompany Keller on the initial roster.

Young arms Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz and Quinn Priester are all in the mix to try and lock down a spot in the Pirates’ rotation come opening day. Left-hander Bailey Falter and non-roster invitee Chase Anderson are among the others also vying for a spot.

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