The 40 Man Roster issue is going to be a large topic of discussion. One can hope that the Pirates do not make any Rule 5 Picks this year as we appear to be past that point in the development. I would think that they Pirates will go into the Winter Meetings with a full complement on the 40 Man that includes a few people they might can jettison when they sign a free agent they like.
Here is my guess at the 40 Man.
AJ Burnett – unless he is angry about Cole getting the Game 5 start, he is going to be resigned.
Brandon Crumpton – has options left and showed he might could be a fifth starter
Jeanamar Gomez – too good to let walk away, but could be dumped if someone great signed.
Phil Irwin – has potential and could easily convert to bullpen
Kris Johnson – he is a lefty that will ultimately be a bullpen guy. Again if better comes, no big deal.
Vin Mazzaro – I do think he gets tendered an offer. Cheap bet, and he did well this year.
Kyle McPhearson – hard thrower. Pirates have loved him for some time. Keeper.
Bryan Morris – probably, oh well
Ryan Reid – I think he pitched well enough to be kept. Has options so AAA bullpen depth.
Wandy Rodriguiz – the choice to pick up the option is his and he gets good money. He’ll do it.
Michael McHenry – I think they bring him back for catching depth. If not they may sign someone.
Gaby Sanchez – I think they tender him an offer. Power bat and few options at first.
This gives us 31 people, and has us saying good bye to Jeff Karstens, Garret Jones, and Clint Barmes among others.
Of course there will be additions to the roster. We have 10 spots. Let us just assume one will be reserved for a left handed first baseman from the free agent market and another for a bullpen pitcher, giving us 7 spots to fill.
Gregory Polanco - no brainer
Mel Rojas Jr. – too early to give up on a guy who just had his best year and at the AA level.
Gift Ngope – he gets one more year to try and hit. His glove is great, and could be taken in Rule 5.
Joely Rodriguiz – the Pirates like hard throwing guys, and he is left handed.
Stetson Allie – again might just be for pride reasons, but he showed amazing power.
Justin Howard – his bat is decent and we have a real problem at 1B. Easily replaceable on this list.
Adalberto Santos – super utility guy who can easily be taken in Rule 5. Protection.
Casey Sadler – he could go in a Rule 5, but he would be a dump candidate upon signings.
There are some interesting possibilities. For example, they could let McHenry go avoiding arbitration, and instead add Carlos Paulino to the roster. Paulino is a defensive rock, but not so good on the offense. If this spot is just for AAA and emergencies, then it is a risk you might could take, however, if you want Sanchez to get some more swings making him the AAA catcher, then this spot is a major league back up position, and Paulino is not your guy.