The Pirates have set their 40-man roster. Here's the fallout:
RP Dave Davidson
RP Romulo Sanchez
OF Nyjer Morgan
C Carlos Maldonado
None of this is a huge deal, but I don't understand the logic behind some of these moves.
Davidson is a no-brainer.
Sanchez has a terrible performance record, can't throw a strike to save his life and almost certainly won't ever be a good big leaguer, but he has terrific stuff, so the Pirates were probably figuring some team might take a flyer on him in the Rule 5 draft and hide him in the back of their bullpen.
Morgan is terrible and adds nothing to the organization that Rajai Davis doesn't have covered. He's the sort of player who could get taken in the Rule 5 draft, but he's also the sort of player who'd never come back to bite you. On the Pirates' roster, he's a waste of space.
Maldonado has no business on a 40-man roster either, but I'm surprised the Pirates didn't keep him there. Unless you consider Ryan Doumit a catcher, and the Pirates probably don't, this means they only have Ronny Paulino and Humberto Cota left on the 40-man. A good team wouldn't take Cota to arbitration, but who knows what the Pirates will do. In any case, this move may suggest the Pirates will be on the market for a cheap backup catcher this offseason. The Post-Gazette suggests that the Bucs may re-sign Maldonado to a minor-league deal.
The big name that's missing here is starter Wardell Starling, who isn't exactly a blue-chipper but is still a much better prospect than Sanchez or Morgan. A team could easily pick him in the Rule 5 draft. He probably can't succeed in the majors right now, so he'd probably be returned if selected, but being picked would screw up his development. With guys like Cota, Javier Guzman and Yurendell DeCaster on the roster, I don't understand why the Pirates wouldn't find space for Starling, who has a non-zero chance at having a decent big-league career.
UPDATE: The Pirates' website says, contrary to numerous reports, that Starling doesn't need to be protected. If that's true, there's really nothing to complain about here, other than the fact that there's an incredible amount of crap at the back of the Bucs' 40-man (Romulo Sanchez, Morgan, Davis, Guzman, DeCaster, Josh Shortslef, Juan Perez, Shane Youman, and so on) - the Bucs are seriously going to be screwed if they have injury troubles next year.