The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired first baseman Chris McGuiness from the Texas Rangers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas, according to a team announcement. To make room on the 40-man roster for Mikolas, the Rangers designated outfielder Rafael Ortega for assignment.
McGuiness, 25, was designated for assignment last week to make room for new addition Shin-Soo Choo. He is a left-handed hitting first baseman, so a platoon with the right-handed hitting Gaby Sanchez could be the team's solution at first base. The Pirates were linked to free agent James Loney before he re-signed with the Rays and have been involved in trade discussions for Adam Lind (Blue Jays), Mitch Moreland (Rangers) and Ike Davis (Mets), but could be done with their first base search with the addition of McGuiness.
In ten major league games for the Rangers last season, McGuiness hit .176 with 1 RBI in 34 at-bats. He spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .246 with 11 HR and 63 RBI in 104 games. McGuiness was selected by the Indians in the Rule 5 draft last December, but was returned to the Rangers at the end of spring training once Cleveland decided that he would not make the major league roster.
Mikolas, 25, was Pirates' property for just over a month after being acquired along with Jaff Decker in a trade that sent Alex Dickerson to the Padres on November 25. He heads to his third team of the offseason in the Rangers, and is likely to be used as a depth option for the team's bullpen next season.
In 27 appearances in the majors over the last two seasons, Mikolas is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in 34 innings of work. He spent most of 2013 with Triple-A Tucson, notching a 4-2 record, a 3.25 ERA and 26 saves in 54 appearances (61 innings).
The Rangers claimed Ortega off waivers from the Rockies in late November, and will now have ten days to trade, release, or waive him. The 22-year old spent 2013 with Colorado's Double-A affiliate.
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