The Pirates’ upper management situation may be in chaos, but at least the team’s securing the 2020 roster, albeit with exactly zero suspense.
Roster Moves: The Pirates announced we have exercised the options on the contracts of Starling Marte and Chris Archer for the 2020 season.— Pirates (@Pirates) November 4, 2019
Bringing Marte back was a given, considering he had the best season of his career. However, it doesn’t mean that he’ll figure in the Bucs’ future plans. He’ll make $11.5 million next year, and depending on how the team does he might make tempting trade bait.
Archer’s season was erratic, with mostly dismal performances when he wasn’t injured, but the departure of pitching coach Ray Searage gives some cause for optimism. Archer may not turn into Gerrit Cole, but it’s possible he can pick up the pace under a new manager and coach. At $9 million, he’s cheap enough for the Pirates to take that chance.
In addition, Nick Burdi, Kyle Crick, Chad Kuhl, Jason Martin, Gregory Polanco, Edgar Santana and Jameson Taillon were all reinstated from the 60-day IL. Taillon, of course, won’t pitch in 2020 after his Tommy John surgery, but everyone else should be there in the spring. Whoever the new pitching coach is, he’ll look at shaping the rotation either as an awesome challenge or a frustrating game of Jenga. As my colleague Frank Garland noted yesterday, if Polanco stays healthy he should be a boon to the battery, but right now it’s unclear whether or not he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
In another non-shock, the Pirates outrighted James Marvel, Alex McRae, Yefry Ramirez and Wei-Chung Wang, which puts their roster number at 39. I don’t see any additions or subtractions as long as the GM and field manager positions are vacant, but we can hope that eyes are being kept on who’s available, especially at catcher.
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