Pirates hurler Hector Noesi has opted out of participation in the 2020 season, manager Derek Shelton told reporters, including Stephen Nesbitt of The Athletic (via Twitter). Noesi cited family reasons in asking out of his minor league deal.
In other Pirates news, top relief pitcher Keone Kela still has not appeared at camp, Shelton relayed (via MLB.com’s Adam Berry, on Twitter). The organization has not provided further information on the matter. It certainly could be that Kela is in some stage of protocols relating to COVID-19, though it would be unwise to assume anything about his situation.
Noesi had been looking for another big league opportunity after appearing last year with the Marlins. He struggled quite a bit in his time in Miami, his first MLB action since 2015. In the interim, the journeyman hurler — once a small part of a busted blockbuster — had a few nice campaigns in the KBO.
Kela’s situation is of greater concern to the Pirates from a competitive standpoint. If the club struggles as most anticipated, he’d be an obvious midseason trade piece as a 2020-21 free agent. Kela turned in 29 2/3 innings of 2.12 ERA ball last year.