As I enjoyed my daily coffee this morning, I caught up with the latest article from Pittsburgh Pirates beat reporter Justice delos Santos.
Today’s reading focused on the upcoming 40-man roster decisions the Pirates will make this offseason, all while trying to maintain depth with the plethora of Rule 5-eligible players in the system.
After seeing the list of players due for an eventful offseason, here are some things that could — and some that should — happen.
There are a number of players who the team could move on from this offseason. A couple no-brainers are Eric Stout, Jeremy Beasley and Peter Solomon.
This trio of pitchers were brought in during the season just to add some depth to the 40-man roster due to the slew of injuries that plagued the team. Stout was the only player that saw any playing time in the bigs, while Beasley and Solomon waited in the shadows.
Speaking of Stout’s time in the bigs, he’s known for one thing:
Eric Stout wanted zero part of history.— Starting 9 (@Starting9) September 22, 2022
4 balls not even CLOSE to Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/gp3WgehOEp
Unless Ben Cherington has specific plans for them, they will not be in a Pirates uniform next year.
A couple other non-tender candidates are Hoy Park and Miguel Yajure. Both have done next to nothing since coming over from the New York Yankees and have done nothing to warrant a roster spot next season.
Catchers Ali Sanchez and Zack Collins were also mentioned as possible non-tender candidates, but seeing the lack of catching depth in the organization, they could get another shot next season. If they flop, they will be designated for assignment by mid-June.
Designated for Assignment
There are only a couple names in mind for possibly being DFA’d. Those are pitchers Yohan Ramirez, Nick Mears and Beau Sulser.
Ramirez was brought in as reinforcement for injuries, Mears is constantly hurt, and Sulser was only brought back to stash in Indianapolis in case of injury.
It doesn’t make sense at the moment to get rid of these guys, but it would be wise trying to add some younger pieces — like Rule 5 candidate J.C. Flowers or Cody Bolton — in their places.
Only one player could be up for grabs on the trade block: Kevin Newman.
With the amount of depth at middle infield, the Pirates can afford to trade Newman. There’s no reason to keep a shortstop with no power and decent defense when there are better options on the Pirates or in the Minors.
This year, we’ll probably see Oneil Cruz, Rodolfo Castro and Ji hwan Bae command the middle infield, while Diego Castillo and Liover Peguero wait in the wings. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see the likes of former first round pick Nick Gonzales or up-and-comer Andres Alvarez make an appearance in the MLB next year.
Either way, we have the depth to make up for Newman’s possible departure.
Rule 5 candidates
Is there such thing as too much depth? The Pirates could face that question in the coming weeks as multiple Minor League players are Rule 5 eligible.
A couple players that need added to the 40-man roster without question are the aforementioned Alvarez, catcher/infielder Blake Sabol, first baseman Aaron Shackelford, utility player Jared Triolo and outfielder Dariel Lopez.
Alvarez quickly became an underrated prospect after becoming the first player in Altoona Curve history with a 20/20 season. While he cooled off towards the end of the season, it would be nice to see if he can replicate his performance with the Pirates’ organization in 2023.
Sabol and Triolo were two of the best hitters for Altoona last year, each hitting above .282 and posting an OPS of .795 or higher. Lopez, on the other hand, hit .286 with 19 home runs last year for Greensboro. Considernig he’s only 20, keeping him around could be beneficial in the long run.
Shackelford is debatable, but seeing how thin the organizational depth is at first base, having him in the chamber would help the team out in more ways than one.
Other 40-man additions (non-FA)
Delos Santos said it in his story, and it should be assumed that guys like Endy Rodriguez, Mike Burrows and Malcolm Nunez are going to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason.
What else do they need to prove that they’re ready to be added? Not much.
All will be added and stashed in the minors until the infamous Super Two deadline passes, but that’s a price all fans should be willing to take.