Pirates Claim Aaron Thompson

The Pirates take the prospect waived to make room for Rick Ankiel

As mentioned earlier this week, the Nationals needed to make some 40-man moves and it’s come across my Twitter feed the wires that the Pirates have claimed Aaron Thompson. The estimable Mark Zuckerman also reports that Ryan Mattheus is not on the 40-man roster, but has signed a major-league contract, which happened before he was waived. If that means what I think it means, the Nationals have figured out a way to move a guy off yet still retain his services by virtue of making his price tag higher for the claiming team.

Thompson, as many will recall, was acquired as part of the 2009 Nick Johnson waiver-wire deal and finished that season in Harrisburg with an 0-3 mark but a 3.31 ERA. This past season, however, the lefthander struggled mightly, twice posting 8+ ERAs in a single month (May, August) and finishing a combined 5-13 in 26 AA starts and one AAA start. Unlike Matt Chico, Argentina nor the Natmosphere is likely to cry very much over his departure.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

13 thoughts on “Pirates Claim Aaron Thompson”

  1. How does Justin Maxwell not get waived, but a 23 year old pitcher with what appears to be pretty upside does?
    Does JMax have photos of someone in compromising positions with a small farm animal?

    1. Not that I disagree with the sentiment of frustration, but it would appear that Rizzo agrees with what Sickels said before the season, which is that Thompson has hit a wall developmentally and hasn’t solved his command problems.

  2. This kind of thing will happen more often as the Nationals system improves. Eventually you don’t have room for all the players you might want to keep.

  3. Sue, this may be a stupid question, but I am sure you have the answer…
    Could the Nationals pulled Thompson back off from the waiver wire, as they do during the season?

    1. No, “revocable” waivers are basically available from August 1 to the end of the regular season. During the offseason, all waivers are “outright” but are called “special waivers” (arguably, just to confuse us). Quoting Keith Law here from this link that folks ought to bookmark:

      “Outright or special waivers. The name changes depending on the time of year, but the effect is the same. These are the waivers you use to kick a player off of your 40-man roster. They’re also the waivers to use when you wish to send a player who is out of options to the minors (thereby also removing him from your 40-man). These waivers are irrevocable, meaning that if you place a player on outright waivers and he is claimed, you can not pull the player back off waivers. ”

      So, not a stupid question at all. Transaction rules are often confusing and it seems that every year I learn something new.

      1. Thanks for the clarification. I grew up in DC and the Senators left when I was 9 years old. My singular favorite memory of my late father is seeing a real double header (one ticket…two games) with him the year before the team left for Texas. Since there was no real team in DC (don’t consider the Orioles Dc’s team), I never graduated to the next level of baseball acumin. I am still learning the “business” side of the game and my 11 year old son and I talk baseball on a regular basis…we have been to several games on South Capitol Street already and I look forward to many more over the next several years…
        Promise me you won’t change careers and bail on us like our other friend did…

        1. I’ve always had a goal of keeping the daily workload to an hour or less so that any change in my personal life would enable me to keep the site going. Now, if the parent club were to come knocking and want to hire me (click here, if you’re reading this, front-office types) I could be persuaded to make some changes (for a lot less than you’d think — PR this authentic is usually not this cheap), but right now it’s pretty good hobby, one that enables me to write about my passion w/ little restrictions, be a fan, play scout, etc. Best I can promise is to keep to that goal and thank our volunteers for helping me run this site.

  4. As both Sickels and Sue_D have noted previously, Thompson may have ‘hit the wall’ at the AA-level; Good luck to him in PIT going forward. A 23yo LHSP is tough to let go off, but as Branch Rickey (and others) have said, “It’s better to let go of a player a year early, than a year late.”, or something like that.

  5. The focus will now be on Solis, Ray, Rosenbaum, and Chico now with
    Thompson and James gone. Perhaps a LHSP is a trade target? Time
    will only tell.

  6. Thompson was a black hole of FAIL in Harrisburg who was only pitching for them because he was on the prospect radar and was given every chance to succeed. He started off so well with a good spring and then a good spot start for Syracuse. He fell off mightily and this is really no big loss.

      1. I feel for you guys. Aaron Thompson is like exhibit A for an independent minor leagues. If Harrisburg were trying to win championships and developing players to sell to big clubs, Thompson would not have been allowed to take the hill time after time after time. Dang you Branch Rickey!

  7. Great job on the big board.
    Irony in Harris cuts Moresi from Concord, CA. and adds Tucker who played for the good football school there DeLeSalle but in baseball.
    three ex- A’s added in last week or so. Bob Schafer was once in A’s organization. Chad Gaudin…no comment..yes he would be the fourth.

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