Bucs lose left-hander Wang, add three in Rule 5 Draft
Sample, Morris and Gonzalez join roster during Triple-A Phase
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Pirates knew they weren't going to be takers in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, but they did anticipate losing a player or two.
It wound up being one -- 21-year-old left-hander Wei-Chung Wang, a native of Taiwan who played in the Rookie Gulf Coast League last season but was placed on the Pirates' Triple-A roster this winter. Wang was selected by the Brewers, who will have to keep him on their Major League roster or offer him back to the Pirates for half the $50,000 drafting fee if they want to send him down the Minors.
Wang went 1-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) for the Rookie GCL Pirates in 2013, striking out 42 while walking just four in 47 1/3 innings and holding opponents to a .209 batting average. He was signed by Pittsburgh as a non-drafted free agent on Oct. 3, 2011.
Normally, a player signed at 19 or older isn't eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until after four professional seasons, but Wang is a special case. His original contract was voided when a physical revealed the need for Tommy John surgery, which kept him out all of 2012. The Pirates reworked his deal, and by doing that it made him eligible to be drafted if the club didn't put him on the 40-man roster.
"We're hoping for some upside here, coming off of Tommy John surgery," Brewers GM Doug Melvin said. "It's a chance to capture what we might consider a high-level prospect."
The Pirates also gained and lost players in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 Draft. They picked up right-handers Tyler Sample from the Kansas City organization, A.J. Morris from the Cubs and Felipe Gonzalez from the Yankees, and they lost catcher Charles Cutler to the Cubs and right-hander Roberto Espinosa to the Blue Jays.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.