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Pearce, Morgan, Perez to Join Bucs

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Steven Pearce, Nyjer Morgan and Juan Perez will join the team soon now that rosters have expanded, the Post-Gazette reports. We all know Pearce, the stocky first baseman who who hit .333/.394/.622 across Classes A, AA and AAA this year. Chris Duffy will head to the 60-day DL to make roster room for Pearce. Morgan is a 27-year-old speedster who has no real chance of being an impact player but could be mildly useful as a pinch-runner. Perez had a decent year out of the Indianapolis bullpen and will be immediately useful because he's left-handed and can reduce the workload for fellow lefties Damaso Marte and John Grabow, both of whom have been used a fair amount recently.

Not that any of these guys are likely to play much. Bones found this:

"You don't foresee a lot of days where you are going to have the liberty to run four or five guys out there -- who were playing baseball in Triple-A or Double-A -- in a big league game," Tracy said. "You need to protect the integrity of the game and your situation in relation to the other competitors that you're playing against."
Riiiight. I hope that means we will never again see a situation like we saw last year with Joe Randa and Freddy Sanchez, when a more expensive, older player is the official starter far past the point when it's 100% obvious that the cheaper, younger player is better. Or a situation where a media circus is enough to keep on the roster a 39-year-old pitcher who hasn't been able to get hitters out for five years in Japan and has, for six full weeks, an ERA hovering around 7.00 or 8.00. Or a situation where the Bucs constantly recall players that every other team passed on last time the Bucs waived them. Or a situation where the Bucs have three or four players on their roster who struggled at AAA that year. Or a situation where a marginal reliever is recalled from AA or AAA and immediately thrust into high-leverage innings.

But I doubt it. My guess is that "the integrity of the game" only applies when you're calling up a top prospect who could actually impact the future of the team, not when you're doing stuff like trying to make the front office look good, playing winky-wink with the Japanese media, or being too lazy or stupid to think about reliever usage.

I don't care about Morgan or Perez, but the Bucs could learn a lot about Pearce - and what they might do this offseason - if they let him play every day, or nearly every day. He could spot Adam LaRoche at first against lefties (and, by the way, Pearce put up a 1.375 OPS in a small sample against lefties while he was with Indianapolis) and spot Xavier Nady, who's nursing a hamstring problem, many other days. Pearce's performance would give them that much more information about what his role on next year's club should be, and whether the Pirates should trade a player to make room for him.

Instead, here's what I bet will happen (that is, if Dave Littlefield and Tracy are still on the job next year): Pearce will ride the bench, and maybe he'll collect about a dozen plate appearances between now and the end of the year. No trades will be made. Pearce will be sent to Indianapolis in Spring Training, where he will kill the ball. Someone who plays a position Pearce can handle will play terribly. Nothing will be done. No weaknesses will be addressed.

UPDATE: I know Tracy only said he didn't want "four or five" minor-league callups out there, but given the numerous rumblings in the Post-Gazette that the callups wouldn't play, I'm taking Tracy's comment as Piratese for "I'm not playing Pearce." The Trib reports, however, that Pearce will be in the lineup tonight. So we'll see.