Friday, December 12, 2008

Your 2009 Pirates...

OK, the winter meetings have come and gone, and in the ten weeks since the season has ended, Pittsburgh has done some jivin' and shuckin' in regards to the 40-man roster. If the season started tomorrow, here's what the PNC Fightin' Forty would be:

RHP: Jimmy Barthmaier, TJ Beam, Matt Capps, Jesse Chavez, Craig Hansen, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Ross Ohlendorf, Romulo Sanchez, Ian Snell, Jeff Sues, Ron Uviedo, and Tyler Yates.

LHP: Sean Burnett, Dave Davidson, Zach Duke, Phil Dumatrait, Tom Gorzelanny, John Grabow, Paul Maholm, and Donnie Veal.

C: Robinzon Diaz, Ryan Doumit, Jason Jaramillo, and Steve Lerud.

INF: Pedro Alvarez, Brian Bixler, Luis Cruz, Adam LaRoche, Andy LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez, Ramon Vazquez, Neil Walker, and Jack Wilson.

OF: Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Brandon Moss, Steve Pearce, and Jose Tabata.

Since the last game, the suits have cut the bench and some deadwood pitching. The only newcomers, aside from Pedro and the Rule 5 gang that needed cover, are IF Vazquez, who can play all four infield spots, back-up C Jaramillo, and LHP Veal, a Rule 5 project.

Additions? We don't really foresee many more to fill that one spot left in the 40-man roster. They'll continue to try to move Wilson and Grabow, maybe big daddy LaRoche, Sanchez, and Snell, too, sometime between now and the trading deadline.

The team will cross their fingers and hope that an outfielder with a little pop will drop into their price range. It's likely that Andrew McCutcheon will finally get his long-awaited call to the bigs, along with perhaps Daniel McCutchen, sometime during the year.

And there's always the off-chance that Dirt Dog Doug Mientkiewicz will be back, although we wouldn't recommend holding your breath waiting on his return. Ditto for Jason Michaels, Denny Bautista, Raul Chavez and Jason Davis, unless they come back cheap.

And that, folks, will be your 2009 Pirates, a team in the early stages of a full-blown makeover. Again. Let's hope these guys get it right.


WilliamJPellas said...

Man, would I love to have Mientkiewicz back again. Great work on posting the revised 40 man roster, Ron. That's very helpful information.

Looking at it, though, it seems to me that they're holding a spot open for Jason Michaels or someone very like him. It occurs to me that the 40 man is very topheavy with pitchers, and surely they can't be thinking they'll go into next season with only Nyjer Morgan to come off the bench in the outfield. (Tabata, obviously, won't make the team out of spring training, though I predict we'll see him in Pittsburgh for a cup of coffee late in the year.)

Mientkiewicz could of course help some at the OF corner spots, but I really believe the front office is looking for a veteran OF for about 250 at bats or until McCutchen is ready, or both. Michaels would definitely fit that description. Any other names that come to mind? Wonder what Rob Mackowiak is doing these days?

Ron Ieraci said...

I have to tell the truth, Will - I had to google LOOGY. I remembered the "lefty one out" part, but I'll be danged if I could recall what the "GY" was for.

As far as Dirt Dog, Michaels, or whomever, I get the impression that the Pirates are gonna let the market play itself out some and bring in a couple of guys late in the process, at their price. Heck, they waited until camp last year until they brought Mientkiewicz in.

I hope I'm wrong and they've ID'd a couple of guys they like, but they play things so close to the vest that it would take a crystal ball to figure out who the suits really want this year.

You're right on about the pitching - I figure they have 15 guys vying for a dozen spots, plus possibly a FA back end vet, if the market doesn't price itself out.