The Pirates currently have a full 40 man roster and 5 players on the DL. At the end of the year the contracts of Lee, Ludwick, Maholm, Snyder, Doumit, and Cedeno expire. The Pirates do hold options on Maholm, Snyder, Doumit and Cedeno. In addition to the 39 players the Pirates either have under contract or control rights to the Pirates have 7 players who I could see them potentially adding to the 40 man roster (to protect from Rule V draft). The Pirates also have seven spots in which I think they might look for an external help: C, 1B, SS, 3B, OF, SP, RP. The C, 1B and SS positions would be starters while the OF would be a bench bat and the 3B an insurance policy on Alvarez and/or a bench player. Some of these positions could be filled internally by picking up options/resigning current players or by other players whom are under control.
First lets take a look at the 46 internal options the Pirates have to fill out the 40 man roster, this excludes players whom contracts are up after the season.
Right Handed Relievers:
Left Handed Relievers:
Of the above 46 the Pirates have to get rid of 6 to get down to 40 and then obviously get rid of a few more to make room for external additions. The question is how many external additions? Looking at last season the Pirates made 5 in the offseason (Overbay, Diaz, Rodriguez, Correia and Olsen). To finalize the 25 man roster they added two more players (Veras and Beimel). That makes seven in total although Olsen and Rodriguez were only on the roster a short time. I think C and 1B are guarantees to be addressed. I also think one of 3B or SS will be. I also think a SP and RP will be added. An OF might be too but for now I am going to ignore that possibility. So overall 11 spots need to be cleared up.
So the candidates to be removed are:
C: Jason Jarmillo, Matt Pagnozzi
IF: Steve Pearce, Matt Hague, Brandon Wood, Pedro Ciriaco
OF: Garrett Jones, Xavier Paul, Andrew Lambo
SP: Ross Ohlendorf, Aaron Pribanic
RH: Jose Veras, Chris Resop, Kevin Hart, Daniel McCutchen, Chris Leroux, Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes
LH: Aaron Thompson, Brian Burres
I believe the first 5 spots are easy: Jaramillo, Pearce, Ohlendorf, Hart and Burres.
If as I am predicting the Pirates add another catcher it is possible Matt Pagnozzi could be the odd man out but that may be unlikely seeing as he was just claimed. The Pirates might be planning on trying to sneak him through waivers though. With the uncertainty surrounding 1B I find it hard to believe Hague won’t be kept. Brandon Wood and Pedro Ciriaco are both out of options so I would imagine one becomes the backup SS and the other is released. My preference would be to keep Ciriaco but I think the Pirates will go with Wood.
A good but of the rest will come from the right handed relievers. I think Leroux and Hughes are going to make the team meaning the other 4 are the ones up for debate. Since I have the Pirates adding a reliever I see Veras returning highly unlikely. Due to Resop’s up and down nature I think he too is gone.
So that leaves three spots left. I personally think Pagnozzi goes and one of McCutchen or Grilli. Grilli gives more veteran presences but McCutchen gives the team some options because he has an option left. Right now I think they keep Grilli though. The final spot comes down to Paul, Lambo and Pribanic. I would take Paul off the roster but I think the only way that happens is if another OF is brought in. So it comes down to Lambo and Pribanic and considering the Pirates OF depth I think it is going to be Pribanic.
So what does all that leave:
Starter: Free Agent
Bench: Michael McKenry
Minors: Eric Fryer
1B: Free Agent (I think its going to be D Lee)
2B: Neil Walker
3B: Josh Harrison
SS: Free Agent (I think they pick up Cedeno’s option)
Bench: Brandon Wood, Chase d’Arnaud
Minors: Pedro Alvarez, Matt Hague, Jordy Mercer
LF: Alex Presley
CF: Andrew McCutchen
RF: Jose Tabata
Bench: Garrett Jones, Xavier Paul
Minors: Gorkys Hernandez, Starling Marte
Rotation: Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, FA, Brad Lincoln
Bullpen: Kevin Correia
Minors: Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Aaron Pribanic
Bullpen: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Tony Watson, FA, Jason Grilli, Chris Leroux
Minors: Daniel Moskos, Jared Hughes, Bryan Morris, Aaron Thompson
Just my shot in the dark but expect the roster to look similar to that. I don’t like that I ended up putting both d’Arnaud and Harrison on the team but unless Alvarez shows he deserves to be in the majors I think that might be what we see.