Justin K. Aller
The Pirates have added Vic Black, Ramon Cabrera, Phil Irwin, Tony Sanchez, and Hunter Strickland to their roster.
The Pirates' 40-man roster now stands at 39 players following the addition of catchers Ramon Cabrera and Tony Sanchez, starting pitcher Phil Irwin, and relief pitchers Victor Black and Hunter Strickland. Strickland's addition is a bit of a surprise, but otherwise, the day's roster moves largely developed as WTM predicted in his analysis of the roster deadline.
Strickland is a right-handed reliever originally acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the Adam LaRoche trade. He has a fastball that can touch the mid 90s, as well as a slider and a changeup, but his performances to date have not always matched the scouting reports, and he has a history of both elbow and shoulder problems. Strickland will be 24 next year, and will likely begin the season with class AA Altoona.
The most notable eligible player left off the roster was right-handed starter Kyle Kaminska, who had garnered some buzz following a standout campaign in the Arizona Fall League. Kaminska does not have standout stuff, however, and he stands a reasonable chance of slipping through the draft.
Some sources had incorrectly listed shortstop Gift Ngoepe as being eligible for the draft this year. He still has one year of pre-draft eligibility remaining, however, as he counts as an 18-year-old signee according to MLB's June 5 age standard and did not sign until after the end of the 2008 season. For this reason, he will not be eligible to be drafted until 2013.
With many players being cleared from other team's rosters and placed on waivers in order to make room for new prospects, the empty spot on the Pirates' 40-man roster may not be empty for long. The Rule 5 roster deadline can be almost as good an opportunity as the Rule 5 draft itself when it comes to acquiring new talent.