Brentz, 29, was taken by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2010 draft but never really got an extended chance to break into Boston’s everyday lineup. He posted a combined .287/.311/.379 slash line with one home run in 90 big-league plate appearances during brief stints in 2014 and 2016. He was outrighted off Boston’s 40-man roster after failing to make the big-league club last spring and spent the entire season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he hit .271/.334/.529 with a career-high and International League-best 31 home runs. The Red Sox added him back to the 40-man roster following the season, but his odds of making the club were reduced from minimal to virtually nonexistant after J.D. Martinez was signed on Monday.
Brentz, who has professional experience at all three outfield positions but has spent a great majority of his time at the corners, figures to compete with guys like Adam Frazier, Daniel Nava, Sean Rodriguez, and Jordan Luplow for the Pirates’ left field job. His opportunity to receive regular playing time is likely to grow exponentially if Pittsburgh is able to deal second baseman Josh Harrison, as that would push Frazier and Rodriguez into regular duty in the middle infield.
Brentz is out of options this spring, so he’ll need to make Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster or be put through waivers. With that said, it shouldn’t be too hard for the Pirates to get him through to the minor leagues considering the current surplus of outfield talent around the league.