A date to keep in mind: Friday, November 19, the deadline for MLB teams to finalize their 40-man rosters before the Baseball Winter Meetings and the Rule 5 Draft. The Pirate FO has already done some preliminary shuffling to get it down to the current 38 names, the most notable omission belonging to Jeff Clement.
But two spaces don't leave much wiggle room in the off season. First, the brass have to protect the Rule 5 eligible players.
It seems that OF Starling Marte, LHP Rudy Owens and RHP Diego Moreno are in the clear this year because of when their birthdays fall and so won't need protected until the following season. LHP Jeff Locke, true to his name, is a lock to make the 40-man. After that, a lot of fringy players enter into the picture.
LHP Danny Moskos was lights out at Altoona but a disaster at Indy. RHP Nathan Adcock has shown promise, but hasn't worked at the AA level yet. LHP Anthony Watson could be an effective LOOGY. IF Jimmy Negrych, who was Rule 5 eligible last year and unprotected, could become another Delwyn Young-type bench piece.
And remember, the Bucs are in, according to reports, on everyone that can throw a baseball 60'. So space has to be made for the expected flood of free agents, too.
-- The Pirates are now supposed to sniffing around Brandon Webb, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
-- Pittsburgh is trying to get Chan Ho Park to sign a minor-league deal for 2011, per MLB.com's Jen Langosch.
-- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that "John Russell is a done deal and he'll be joining manager Buck Showalter's staff. The Orioles still have to work out some 'offsetting provisions' with the Pittsburgh Pirates because they have Russell under contract after firing him as manager last month. But everything else has been settled. What hasn't been decided is whether Russell will be Showalter's bench coach or he'll coach third base."