Bucs accept Bloom back from Tigers
Detroit had selected left-hander in first round of December's Rule 5 Draft
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tigers offered left-hander and Rule 5 Draft pick Kyle Bloom back to the Pirates on Sunday for $25,000, and Pittsburgh has accepted.
Detroit selected Bloom in the first round of the December Rule 5 Draft and paid the Pirates $50,000 for the 26-year-old Minor Leaguer. The Pirates had left Bloom off the organization's 40-man roster and therefore unprotected.
As the rules of the Rule 5 Draft dictate, Bloom would have had to remain on the Tigers' Major League roster all season in order for Detroit to secure the rights to the player. Though he had pitched primarily as a Minor League starter, Bloom was being looked at for one of Detroit's bullpen vacancies.
Before returning Bloom, the Tigers did engage in trade talks with the Pirates in an effort to try to keep the left-hander in Detroit's system. However, the two sides could not agree on players to include in any sort of deal.
Bloom had an 8.44 ERA in 5 1/3 spring innings.
"I came in with open eyes, but I was also realistic," Bloom said after being told he'd been returned to the Pirates' organization. "Coming in as a specialty lefty, I had never done that before. Just the atmosphere and how they go about their business, I think I learned a lot."
Now back with the Pirates, Bloom, a former fifth-round Draft pick, is expected to start the year in Double-A Altoona. He made 28 appearances (22 starts) for the Curve last season and went 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA. He walked 55 and struck out 93 in 109 2/3 innings.
The Pirates will soon have to make a decision about their own Rule 5 player, Donnie Veal, whom Pittsburgh took from the Cubs in December. Judging from comments made by general manager Neal Huntington on Sunday, though, it sounds as if the Pirates will hang on to Veal to start the season.
"It would be a tough decision to not put him on the club," said Huntington, who has four remaining bullpen spots to fill. "He's still in the hunt for sure. We still like the upside."
Some quick-worked mechanical adjustments to his delivery and arm action seemed to have Veal's control problems reined in early this spring, but since the first week of Grapefruit League play, Veal has had serious trouble controlling the locations of his pitches at times.
He has hit three batters and walked a team-high 13 in 12 total spring innings. Twelve of those 13 walks have come in Veal's most recent eight innings, though eight of them came in just two combined appearances.
"It is a stretch anytime you take a player out of Double-A and put him in the big leagues," Huntington said. "But with Donnie, he's had an awful lot of good outings. We've seen the left-hander up to 95. We've seen the power breaking ball. We've seen an interesting changeup. We've also seen him walk four guys in an inning."
Control issues plaguing Rule 5 picks isn't something new for the Pirates. They had a similar situation last year with Evan Meek, and ended up carrying Meek out of Spring Training only to have to take him off the roster after one month.
Of course, the Pirates don't want to run into a similar situation with Veal. However, Huntington said that the prospect of that happening isn't as high.
"We do feel Donnie Veal is more equipped to handle a Major League situation right now than Evan was a year ago," he said. "And we like the upside just as much as we did with Evan a year ago."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.