The Pirates have designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment and have added Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Tony Watson, Danny Moskos and Kyle McPherson to the 40-man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. As I've said many times before, I think dropping Duke is a mistake, albeit a minor one, and one that will easily be forgotten in the Pirates are smart acquiring pitchers this offseason. His non-tender marks the end of an era, in a way, but I've already written about the guy way too much and there's no need to start a whole new exasperating set of arguments about him. His non-tender really isn't a big deal. LaRoche and Young were arbitration-eligible and it was hard to imagine they'd be protected.
The adds of Locke and Watson are good calls, I think. Crotta, though, seems like a very marginal talent, and I'm not sure what the point of adding McPherson is, since the Pirates have seemed actively disinterested in him until now. Nathan Adcock is a better prospect than either and was not protected, although it's likely the Pirates will be able to protect him from the Rule 5 process. Starling Marte and Rudy Owens are ineligible for the Rule 5, so we don't need to worry about them.
UPDATE by Charlie. WTM, in the comment thread, on McPherson: