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Pirates News: seven players optioned to AAA

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Toronto Blue Jays John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Amid these crazy times, the Pittsburgh Pirates made some cuts yesterday optioning seven players to AAA.

The likes of Cole Tucker, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Jason Martin, Edgar Santana, Geoff Hartlieb, Yacksel Rios, and Sam Howard will not be making the trip to Pittsburgh for the start of the regular season. . . when that time comes.

Most of these cuts are not all that surprising.

  • Rios and Howard never really had a chance of making the team straight out of Spring Training. They are bullpen depth guys.
  • Although Hartlieb has shown good stuff, he still needs a bit of polishing in the minors before being ready to consistently get big league hitters out.
  • Santana was a bright spot for the Pirates’ 2018 bullpen before getting shut down with Tommy John surgery. If healthy in 2020, he will be a vital part of the Pirates’ bullpen. Before that happens though, some time in the minors will give him the opportunity to slowly regain form.
  • With the signings of Guillermo Heredia and Jarrod Dyson this offseason, Martin becomes the fifth outfielder for the Pirates. If someone is injured, he would be the first player called up.
  • Whether you believe Hayes is ready for the big leagues or not, he was never going to make the team straight out of Spring Training due to service time manipulation reasons.
  • The only cut that remotely surprises me is that of Tucker. I thought he would make the team as a bench guy, mostly for defensive purposes. Perhaps the play here is getting Tucker as many possible at bats in AAA to keep him sharp rather than wasting him away on the major league bench.