Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pirates offseason - 40 Man Guess

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.

Gerrit Cole

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.

Jason Grilli

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.

Fransico Lirano

Jeff Locke

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.

Mark Melancon

Bryan Morris – probably, oh well

Charlie Morton

Stolmey Pimentel

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.

Tony Watson

Justin Wilson


Position Players:

Russell Martin

Tony Sanchez

Michael McHenry – I think they bring him back for catching depth.  If not they may sign someone.

Pedro Alvarez

Josh Harrison

Jordy Mercer

Neil Walker

Gaby Sanchez – I think they tender him an offer.  Power bat and few options at first.

Andrew Lambo

Starling Marte

Andrew McCutchen

Jose Tabata


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. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

What a season!

That was a great run for the Pirates.  Bring on next season.  Right now.  I am ready. 
The Pirates broke the streak, made the playoffs, eliminated the Reds (which got Dusty Baker fired), and took the Cards to the limit.

I am a believer in Clint Hurdle now.  I thought he made good decisions during the playoff rounds.  Even in Game 5, I think starting Cole was the right thing to do (although Burnett may want to sign elsewhere now, but for winning it was the best bet).  Even though I am not a Justin Wilson fan, I think bringing him in was the right move.  He got the first two lefties, and was probably instructed to pitch around Molina, which is not a bad idea.  You had another lefty-lefty match up, but it just did not work out. 

The big questions now are what to do about next year.  It seems fairly obvious that the big offseason free agent moves will be directed at First Base, and the Pirates always sign someone for the bullpen. 

Most of the team will be back, and that is a good thing.  Lirano, Morton, Cole, and Locke are back with Wandy Rodriguiz having a player option that I bet he picks up since it is for a lot of money and the Pirates are contenders.  Burnett is thinking about retiring, but has hinted he would like to come back to Pittsburg, and I think you sign him.  Don't forget that Crumpton is ready in Triple A and mid season Jameson Taillon might be too, but keeping him down until September may not be a bad thing.  Kyle McPherson and Phil Irwin will be coming back from injuries, but won't take all year to get ready.  In fact, Irwin might could start the year in the bullpen.  Stolmy is ready and could be bullpen material as well.  A lot of decisions there.  As for the rest of the bullpen Grilli is locked in, so no closer issues.

The rest of the team will be back with the exception of Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau, Garrett Jones, Clint Barmes, and perhaps Gaby Sanchez.  I think you let everyone but Sanchez go.  You resign Sanchez and see if you can get a guy on the free agent market to be the everyday guy.  Mercer already took Barmes's spot at short so no problem there.  And frankly Tabata and Snyder can go back to platooning to cover for Byrd, who will probably require real money to re-sign.  Use that money for Burnett who is going to need it.  Tabata showed flashes of being good again, and don't forget Jerry Sands will probably still be on the 40 man as will Lambo.  Gregory Polanco might make his way onto the team by mid-season.  His Arizona Fall League performance will be important.  Alex Dickerson just hit a career high in doubles and homers in AA too.  So, he will be in Triple A just in case. 

It will be an interesting off season.  One that I will be counting every second.  Come again soon baseball!!!!

Until then I hope Jim Leyland gets another title.  The man deserves it.

Friday, October 4, 2013


The Pirates beat the Reds!!!!!!!

In fact, it appears now that the Pirates cost Dusty Baker his job.  Baker is a good coach at getting his players to stay focused all year.  But much like The Braves of the 90's, Baker cannot coach in single game situations.  The Pirates helped expose that as they lit into Cueto.  Even their outs were crushed.  But Dusty stuck with Cueto until the game was well out of reach.

Although in an act of cosmic karma, the Pirates were destroyed by the Cards in the opener.  It was more than just a bad 3rd inning.  AJ did not have his stuff.  No strikeouts in the first couple of innings, but a walk and a couple of hits.  A double play got him out of the second, but nothing could get him out of the 3rd.

Still, I have not been this excited about Pirate baseball in years.  I think the series as a whole looks good for the Pirates.  Lirano should have the edge when he pitches, and he will start at home.  I like Cole and Morton as having slight edges.  We have to make sure we are not in a bad position when Wainright comes up a again.  I like AJ, and he won't be this bad again, but that match up favors the Cards.

It is good to be a part of Buctober again.