The Pittsburgh Pirates designated pitcher Vin Mazzaro for assignment on Monday to make room for pitching prospect Brandon Cumpton. The Pirates did not designate Mazzaro because of performance, they wanted to promote Cumpton and Mazzaro held the last spot on the Pirates roster. The Pirates hope he clears waivers and then they will be able to retain the veteran right hander. Mazzaro 27, began his career as a starter with the Oakland A's in 2009 and found little success pitching in Oakland and Kansas City.
During that period of time, Mazzaro may be best or worst remembered for a 2 2/3 inning relief appearance in 2011. Mazzaro who was scheduled to start for Kansas City the following evening was pressed into action the night before in an emergency relief stint. Mazzaro gave up 14 runs in those 2 2/3 innings pitched as the Royals got pounded 19-1 by the Cleveland Indians. Mazzaro was promptly sent down to the minors the next day by KC and was eventually traded out of town.
At the time Mazzaro was still a young prospect and developing as a Major Leaguer. The Royals had been criticized for their handling of Mazzaro, especially leaving him in a game, that was well out of reach. Such an experience could have an adverse effect on a young pitcher and his development. Mazzaro who has shown resiliency in his career, turned everything around as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013.
Mazzaro finished last season with a 8-2 record and a 2.81 ERA in 73.2 innings pitched out of the Bucs pen. Mazzaro pitched so well for the Pirates in 2013, they bypassed arbitration and signed him to a one year $950,000 contract on January 17, 2014. For some reason, teams don't believe in Mazzaro, but the Rutherford, NJ native keeps proving them wrong.
After signing with the Pirates he was DFA'd out of Spring Training and cleared waivers. The Pirates retained him and assigned him to their Triple-A Indianapolis affiliate. Mazzaro was called up later this season and compiled a 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched. The Pirates are obviously rolling the dice again on Mazzaro and the Yankees should step in and grab him as the Pirates leave him exposed for the second time this season.
Only 27, Mazzaro has improved mightily since settling in as a reliever. The Yankees could claim him off waivers, work out a trade or sign him as a Free Agent if he clears waivers. Either way it would be a small price to pay for a talented pitcher with a bright future in the Major Leagues.
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