The roster shake-up continued for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday as seven players were outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis, and six players returned to the 40-man roster from the 60-day injured list.
In a tweet, the Pirates announced the following players were removed from the 40-man roster:
ROSTER MOVES:— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) November 6, 2021
The following players have been removed from our 40-man and outrighted to AAA Indianapolis:
⁰RHP Chase De Jong⁰RHP Enyel De Los Santos⁰INF Wilmer Difo⁰RHP Kyle Keller⁰RHP Connor Overton⁰LHP Chasen Shreve
RHP Shea Spitzbarth
Shreve has elected free agency.
In addition to the outrights, the Pirates announced that six players were reinstated to the 40-man roster from the 60-day injured list. Those players are:
- LHP Steven Brault
- RHP Blake Cederlind
- LHP Dillon Peters
- RHP Jose Soriano
- RHP Duane Underwood Jr.
- RHP Bryse Wilson
With these moves, the Pirates now stand at a full 40-man roster.
The most surprising piece of these moves has to be Shreve electing free agency, as he didn’t have a bad year statistically. In 57 games, Shreve went 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA and tallied a 1.2 WAR — one of the highest on the team.
His main problem was delivering in clutch situations, as we’ve stated in previous articles.
It wouldn’t shock many people if Chase De Jong and Kyle Keller don’t return to the 40-man roster in the future. Despite a strong run in Spring Training, De Jong did very little to earn the respect of fans, going 1-4 with a 5.77 ERA in 43.2 innings pitched.
Keller, who the Pirates got from the Los Angeles Angels in April, had a back and forth season. After lowering his ERA from 8.10 in May to 4.00 in July fell off in the month of August. During that month, Keller appeared in 10 games, and gave up at least one run in all but three of them.
He also struggled with his control, walking 11 hitters while only striking out 10. Keller did calm down during September, however his inconsistencies on the mound throughout the entire season make him a player the Pirates wouldn’t want back next season.
If the Pirates do not sign many players during free agency, there are two players who would likely find their way back to the 40-man: Wilmer Difo and Shea Spitzbarth.
Spitzbarth had a dominant season in Triple-A last year and showed signs of promise during his short time in the MLB. Given that General Manager Ben Cherington took Spitzbarth in last year’s minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, and with how young he is, he should make his way back to the MLB next year.
Difo, on the other hand, is very shocking. Last season was Difo’s best in the MLB and he was arguably the Pirates’ best pinch hitter. Kevin Gorman of TribLIVE took note of that earlier in the season when he wrote:
“Difo has earned the respect of his teammates not only for being willing to hit in a pinch but delivering when he does. He hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning of a 7-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on April 11, doubled and scored a run in the eighth inning of a 6-2 win over the San Diego Padres on April 12 and had the game-winning RBI on a single in the seventh in a 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on April 27.”
And while it’s not a walk-off hit, who could forget Difo scoring from second to walk it off on Clemente Day?
If anything, Difo will be the first person added to the 40-man if the Pirates fail to sign free agents.
More roster moves are on the horizon as the off-season progresses, leaving one main question: who’s next?