If Jesse Biddle is to revive his career, the Germantown Friends product is at least headed to a haven for pitching reclamation projects.
The Phillies on Wednesday traded the former first-round pick to Pittsburgh for Yoervis Medina, a 27-year-old reliever. Biddle, 24, had been designated for assignment last week. He will miss the entire 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last October.
As the Phillies stockpiled young pitchers, Biddle's value to his hometown organization was diminished. He was once the franchise's top pitching prospect, but injuries and inconsistency have rendered him a mystery.
The risk being small, Pittsburgh was interested.
"We have tracked Jesse for a number of years and felt the upside was worth the challenges," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to help him return to health and develop into the pitcher he has shown signs of becoming as he has advanced in his professional career."
Medina was removed last week from Pittsburgh's 40-man roster. The Venezuelan righthander has pitched in 146 career major-league games, all in relief, with a 3.08 ERA. He split time last season with Seattle and the Chicago Cubs, who waived him in December.
He is to come to Phillies camp as a non-roster invitee.
Biddle will go on the Pirates' 40-man roster. He has two minor-league options remaining, so the Pirates can stash Biddle in the minors while he recovers from the surgery.
The Phillie signed Biddle to a $1.16 million bonus as the 27th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He showed stretches of dominance with a low-90s fastball and a devastating curveball. But, in addition to the elbow trouble, he was sidelined by whooping cough, a concussion and a quadriceps injury.
Biddle posted a 3.82 ERA in 133 minor-league games.
"If we're able to slip him through waivers, we'll be happy to keep him," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said earlier this week. "If not, we'll be happy to put him in an opportunity that is good for him."
Pittsburgh appears to fit that category as the Phillies move past another unsuccessful first-round pick.