With Class AAA Indianapolis missing the playoffs, the Pirates have called up three players: pitchers Shane Youman and Juan Perez and catcher Carlos Maldonado. These three players show just how thin the Pirates are in talent in the upper minors. Maldonado is a career minor leaguer who has never hit much and has no future with the Pirates, but hey, if Jim Tracy ever needs a fourth catcher, he'll be there. Youman is a 26-year-old lefty who doesn't throw hard, has consistently been old for his leagues and can't strike people out. (In fact, he struck out Class AAA batters at a Kirk Rueter-ish rate this year.) Perez was recently acquired off waivers from the Mets.
There is absolutely no reason to protect any of these guys beyond this year, and no reason to give Youman or Maldonado any playing time whatsoever. The Bucs could use some real relief help, though. Why they didn't call up Scott Strickland, a proven major league reliever who struck out 20 batters, walked four, and allowed one earned run in his last 10 appearances with Indianapolis, is beyond me.