Friday, November 20, 2009

Forty Good Men...We Hope

Hey, David Bowie knew what he was singing about with all those Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. The Bucs set their 40-man roster today, and yes, there were a couple of surprises.

As expected, RHP Brad Lincoln, OF Gorkys Hernandez, and RHP Bryan Morris made the team. RH closer Ramon Aguero, a bubble candidate with a power arm, also was included.

Lincoln was Pittsburgh's first round selection (4th pick overall) in the 2006 draft. He went 7-9 with a 3.37 ERA in 25 starts with Altoona and Indianapolis. He pitched in the MLB Futures Game and for Team USA in the Baseball World Cup in September. Baseball America considered him the club's fourth-best prospect going into 2009.

Hernandez hit .262 with three homers and 31 RBI in 86 games with Altoona. He also batted .316 with 19 RBI in 52 games with Double-A Mississippi before joining Pittsburgh. He was ranked by Baseball America as Atlanta's fourth-best prospect entering the 2009 season.

Morris spent his 2009 campaign with Carolina League champion Lynchburg, and went 4-9 with a 5.57 ERA in 15 starts, imploding early on, getting himself suspended, and then finishing strong. He was originally selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2006 draft (26th overall), and was ranked by Baseball America as Pittsburgh's fifth-best prospect to begin 2009.

Aguero played at three different levels in 2009, finishing the season at Altoona, and posted a 2-4 record, four saves and a 3.86 ERA. You may remember him; he was signed as Samuel Vasquez in 2006, and suddenly became Ramon Aguero, adding four years to his age (he went from 20 to 24) this season. Gotta love the Latino baseball scene.

Two guys had to go; they were LHP Justin Thomas, a recent pick-up and no surprise, and C Robby Diaz, whose stick was thought to be potent enough to keep him on the roster. Have bat, will travel.

It also appears that are no irons in the Ryan Doumit fire now, and geez - how fast of a track is Tony Sanchez on?

The biggest shocker, though, was the claim of RHP Chris Jakubauskas off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. Jeff Karstens was the guy they DFA'd for him, meaning Phil Dumatrait, Jeff Sues and Anthony Claggett have made it through the first round of cuts.

CJ was sorta a surprise pick. The 30-year-old spent the majority of the 2009 season with the Mariners, and went 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA in 93 innings (35 games - eight starts).

Prior to signing with Seattle in June of 2007, Jakubauskas played four seasons of independent baseball. He spent 2007 pitching in AA and in three different levels in the Seattle minor league system in 2008.

So the Bucs liked the 30 year-old who was reclaimed from the indy leagues more than Karstens. Of course, cynics may point out that Karstens had reached arbitration eligibility this year, too; Jaku may never get there.

The Bucs said that Karstens and Jakubaukas are essentially the same pitcher, but Karstens was out of minor-league options; CJ wasn't. Interesting thought process; team control and value rules. Diaz was out of options, too. They say that they'd like to get Karstens and Thomas to rejoin the organization if they clear waivers.

Diaz will move on; he's obviously fallen behind Jason Jaramillo, and with Sanchez zooming up the charts, he needs to find a greener pasture. He helped grease his own skids by expressing his frustration to the brass at being third on the backstop depth chart.

The only guy they left unprotected with a betting shot at getting taken in the Rule 5 draft is 2B Jimmy Negrych, whose stick might be MLB ready, at least for a bench role. Shelby Ford is a Rule 5 darkhorse too, though he's less MLB-ready.

The suits may not be done, depending on who's freed up during the forty-man frenzy, whether they decide to open a spot for the Rule 5 draft in December, and any further signings of minor or major league FAs.

The up-to-date 40-man roster:

Pitchers (20):
Ramon Aguero RHP
Jose Ascanio RHP
Matt Capps RHP
Anthony Claggett RHP
Zach Duke LHP
Phil Dumatrait LHP
Joel Hanrahan RHP
Kevin Hart RHP
Steven Jackson RHP
Chris Jakubauskas RHP
Paul Maholm LHP
Brad Lincoln RHP
Daniel McCutchen RHP
Evan Meek RHP
Bryon Morris RHP
Charlie Morton RHP
Ross Ohlendorf RHP
Jeff Sues RHP
Ronald Uviedo RHP
Donald Veal LHP

Catchers (2):
Ryan Doumit S/R
Jason Jaramillo S/R

Infielders (11):
Pedro Alvarez L/R
Brian Bixler R/R
Ronny Cedeno R/R
Jeff Clement L/R
Luis Cruz R/R
Argenis Diaz R/R
Akinori Iwamura L/R
Andy LaRoche R/R
Steve Pearce R/R
Ramon Vazquez L/R
Neil Walker S/R

Outfielders (7):
Gorkys Hernandez R/R
Garrett Jones L/L
Andrew McCutchen R/R
Lastings Milledge R/R
Brandon Moss L/R
Jose Tabata R/R
Delwyn Young S/R

Dropped From 40-Man Roster:
Denny Bautista RHP
Chris Bootcheck RHP
Robinzon Diaz R/R
Eric Hacker RHP
Chris Hansen RHP
Jeff Karstens RHP
Steve Lerud C L/R
Justin Thomas LHP
Virgil Vasquez RHP
Tyler Yates RHP

Unprotected/Rule 5 Eligible Minor League Players:
Kyle Bloom LHP
Michael Crotta RHP
Michael Dubee RHP
Miles Durham 1B R/R
Shelby Ford 2B R/R
Jim Negrych 2B L/R
R.J. Rodriguez RHP


WilliamJPellas said...

They kept both Cruz AND Bixler on the 40 man roster? Yoi and double yoi!

Ron Ieraci said...

Will - I sorta though Bix would make it; they need a CF/middle-indfielder type for bench purposes. I can only assume they thought Cruz was a better option than Ford or Negrych.

Middle infielders are fast rising in the system, and may be within a couple of seasons of reaching PNC, so they did have organizational options for the future.

In Negrych's case, they apparently decided that one Delwyn Young was enough.