The Pirates have cut Pedro Alvarez along with catcher Steve Lerud, second baseman Shelby Ford, and pitchers Daniel McCutchen, Jimmy Barthmaier, Ronald Uviedo, Juan Mateo, and Jeff Sues.
Alvarez will start the year at Class A+ Lynchburg, which is par for the course for a hitter of his standing. (Matt Wieters made his pro debut at Class A+ last year.) Alvarez hit brilliantly this spring despite his lack of experience against pro pitching, so I'd expect him to make it to at least Altoona, and maybe further, by the end of the year.
The other players who were cut were unlikely to make the team. Barthmaier and Daniel McCutchen have perhaps the best chances of contributing this year, but Barthmaier was removed from the running for a rotation job after struggling this spring, and the Pirates appear to be in no rush to add McCutchen to the 40-man roster. Sues and Ford could use a bit of time at AAA, Lerud and Uviedo are a long way from the majors, and Mateo re-signed with the Bucs this offseason as a minor league free agent, and so is not particularly highly regarded despite being a former prospect and pitching pretty well at Altoona last year.
-P- Sorry for my absence the past couple of days. I spent the weekend hiking around Bryce Canyon in Utah and playing poker in Las Vegas. I figured I'd be able to find internet access, but I couldn't. I'm back in San Diego now. Anyway, it doesn't seem that I missed much, except:
-P- The absurd Pirates-Rays comparisons continue. The Pirates are bad and the Rays used to be bad, but surely that doesn't suggest that the Pirates are going to be good anytime soon. Other than that, there just isn't any good reason to make the comparison. There might be in two or three years, but there isn't now.
-P- The Astros' attempt to fix their hole at catcher by signing Pudge Rodriguez is highly unlikely to improve them much--at 37, he doesn't have much left, and his declining home run totals over the past several years bode poorly for his future. If I were running the Astros, I'd probably just suck it up and let J.R. Towles show what he's got once and for all, but that would involve admitting that the Astros aren't a contending team, and that doesn't appear to be an admission the Astros are willing to make. In any case, Rodriguez is a typically uninspiring signing by Ed Wade, even for the low cost of $1.5 million.