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Kevin Newman: A Ghost of Pirate Past

By Joe412


I know it’s difficult to say and impossible to believe but Kevin Newman is no longer a Pittsburgh Pirate… Um well may be difficult to believe that he was still on the 40-man roster after the Rule V purge, but still he is gone. Perhaps no player in modern 21st century Pirate history lived up to his draft projection better than Newman.

In a changing baseball world that focuses on launch angle and exit velocity the then-Pirate General Manager Neal Huntington drafted a shortstop out of Arizona in the middle of the first round who had little to mid-range power at best and was a decent fielder. His name, of course, was Kevin Newman. The pick was not a bust, but he also wasn’t a gold glove caliber shortstop despite the fact he was named a finalist for the award in 2021.

His rookie year in 2019 was his best, with 12 homers and a .308 average, but he was never able to achieve those numbers again, finishing his five-year Pittsburgh career with only eight more homers and a .260 average, becoming the quintessential light hitting, decent glove player that many thought he was after the 2015 draft. It was a draft that he was picked in front of the third baseman of the future Ke’Bryan Hayes and another player of note in the second round, Kevin Kramer. It is Hayes who has become the future face of the franchise and Kramer that gave

Seinfeld aficionados orgasms every time they saw Kramer and Newman photographed together. And believe me when Kramer was on the major league roster, those photos ran in just about every newspaper across the country.

Regardless of the fact he probably wasn’t first round material, Newman was a decent player for the team, but with the plethora of middle infield talent Ben Cherington has acquired, the writing was on the wall for the Bucs starting second baseman. That’s why it was surprising he was kept on the 40-man roster, leaving potential Rule V picks off. It was also surprising that Cherington made the claim that had Newman not been traded he would have tendered him a contract.

Even though both situations were surprising, he was able to get a piece of his future bullpen from the Reds in reliever Dauri Moreta for Newman. Moreta has a decent fastball, which averages 96 MPH, and a nasty 88 MPH slider. He had 35 appearances with the Reds last season and a good 1.143 WHIP. His problem was his BB/9 innings was a little high at 3.1 and he gave up 10 homers in those 35 appearances, a figure he needs to reduce if expects to be a mainstay in the 2023 Pirate bullpen, something he was able to do after he was brought back up to the Reds in July.

After giving up five runs against the Brewers on May 11, his ERA stood at 9.88 as he had given up seven homers at that point of the season. Returning June 19th , a trip back to the minors seemed to be exactly what he needed. Over his final 20 appearances he gave up only three homers in 24 innings with a 2.92 ERA. It was over those final four months that showed Cherington Moreta’s potential worth to the Pirate bullpen. Most importantly to a small market club, Moreta will have six years of control and two options left.

So, the Kevin Newman era has finally ended in Pittsburgh. It was said that the Reds finally filled a

weakness they had… the way potential last place teams fill weaknesses; with a player who is barely better than the weakness they replaced. Goodbye Kevin. You are now a ghost of Pirates past.

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