The Pirates roster is currently filled at 40 players however they are still likely to sign a 1B, SP and probably a couple of players to fill out the roster. Obviously in order to do this the Pirates will need to remove players from the 40 man roster. Some of the most plausible players are those with zero options and the Pirates currently have 13 such players on their roster. The 13 players break down into three groups, players who will make the team, players who are candidates to fill out the bullpen and players who are candidates to fill out the bench.
Definitely On The Roster
Candidates For The Bullpen
Candidates For The Bench
If anyone is going to be removed it will be a player from the final two groups. Chances are that at least 3 players from the bullpen group will stay with the team joining Hanrahan, Meek and Watson in the bullpen. As far as the bench is concerned it is possible that none of three players listed will remain with the club however it is also possible all three will remain with the club.
I believe it is likely one of Resop or Veras will be non-tendered this off-season. I am going back and forth on who is the better option. Resop would come as the cheaper option and was not given as heavy a workload last season as Veras was but a backup plan for the set up position is needed and Veras fits that role better than Resop. In the end I think Resop stays and since he showed last year he was capable of coming into jams and coming up with a big strikeout I think he will be used in that role.
Under normal circumstance Grilli would appear to be a prime candidate to be removed but he showed himself rather capable last year as being a utility pitcher and it appears Hurdle likes him. I am guessing a contract will be reached before arbitration with Grilli and he will be used as a utlity itcher meaning he will pitch some long relief (2+ innings), some middle relief (6th or 7th inning) and if necessary some set up (8th inning).
Of all 4 pitchers I listed Chris Leroux appears to be the most likely to stay. Some suggest he should be stretched out and put into a starting role although that seems like a stretch. I could see him possibly making a spot start or two this season but he will primarily be used in a middle relief role. If Resop is non-tendered I could see Leroux taking over his role as fireman; I could also see Leroux being given a chance to win the set up job.
I think Veras will be non-tendered. He is the most expensive of the 4 relievers and had a very heavy workload last season. Both of those are signs that his production could be replaced by a younger, fresher and less expensive pitcher. With that being said if the Pirates are concerned about Meek (which I am), Veras is probably the best option the Pirates have to set up Hanrahan.
I had figured Jaramillo would be a definite non tender candidate with Barajas in the fold but since the Pirates have removed Pagnozzi, Fryer and Jeroloman from the roster there are only 3 catchers remaining and it appears likely that Jaramillo will be at Spring Training competing with McKenry for the backup catching job.
I am hoping Garrett Jones sticks around as not only is he the Pirates best bench player right now but he is also the best internal option they have for 1B. However from everything I have read it appears quite possible he is going to be non-tendered. Hopefully he sticks around but if not another bench option will need to be acquired.
Ciriaco would appear to be a prime candidate to be non-tendered but as d’Arnaud and Mercer as the only other viable shortstop options on the roster (outside of Barmes) it appears rather possible that Ciriaco will stick around as the backup shortstop. The Pirates have been working Josh Harrison out at shortstop this off-season so hopefully he shows himself capable of handling the position well enough to make carrying Ciriaco a non-necessity.
As you can see I have made a strong case for keeping all 7 players but I seriously doubt all 7 are kept. Before all the recent happenings Grilli, Jaramillo and Ciriaco appeared to be the most likely to be DFAd but considering what has transpired and all I have heard I would now lean towards Veras and Jones.