They added LHPs Rudy Owens, 23, and Justin Wilson, 23, RHPs Duke Welker, 25, and Jeremy Hefner, 25, OF Starling Marte, 23, IF Jordy Mercer, 25, 1B Matt Hague, 26, and C Brian Jeroloman, 26. Hefner and Jeroloman were plucked from the waiver wires.
To clear space, the Pirates moved Cs Matt Pagnozzi and Eric Fryer along with OF Xavier Paul off the roster. If they clear the wires, Pagnozzi and Paul will be offered a minor-league deals and Fryer will be assigned to Indy. Paul lost his spot to Alex Presley, and Pagnozzi was a late-year waiver claim. Both are good bets to leave the organization if they clear, as they will become free agents.
Fryer was the only surprise cut, apparently the victim of upper-level catcher overload in the Pirate system and judged by the FO the likeliest catcher to sneak through waivers. The Bucs are taking a calculated risk with him. We don't really see the why of bringing in Jeroloman if it means risking Fryer, who looks like he still has some upside behind the plate.
As for the remaining players, Welker was most borderline of the additions. The Pirates have a boatload of back end starters and potential relievers stuck in the middle of the organization, and Welker was the only arm they chose to protect of the group. He's a power pitcher, but with a history of being a wild child.
Hefner is a big arm snatched from the Padres, and Jeroloman is a glove-first catcher without much power and a pretty hefty K rate. The other five players were no-brainers. Marte is the Pirates top minor-league position player, Hague had a breakout All-Star season at Indy, Jordan has the best pop of the top level Bucco farm infielders, Owens was the organization's pitcher-of-the-year in 2009-10, and Wilson is a lefty that can bring some heat.
Their 2011 numbers:
Matt Hague: .309/12/75 - Indy (AAA)
Jeremy Hefner: 9-7/4.98 - Tucson (AAA)
Brian Jeroloman: .240/2/26 - Las Vegas (AAA)
Starlin Marte: .332/12/50 - Altoona (AA)
Jordy Mercer: .255/19/69 - Altoona-Indy (AA-AAA)
Rudy Owens: 9-7/5.05 - Indy (AAA)
Duke Welker: 4-5-6/2.76 - Bradenton-Altoona (A+-AA)
Justin Wilson: 10-8-3/4.13 - Indy (AAA)
The roster is full at 40 players, so as it stands now the Bucs aren't likely to be diving into the draft pool this year. The unprotected players at greatest risk of being selected in the draft are RHPs Michael Colla, Diego Moreno and Aaron Pribanic.
And it won't be the final roster. Pittsburgh is still looking for more pitching, a shortstop and maybe a first baseman to add to the squad.
- Because he was a Type B free agent, Ryan Doumit's signing with the Twins will net the Bucs a sandwich pick in the 2012 draft.
- The Colorado Rockies signed Brandon Wood to a minor league contract. The Rox hope he can provide some depth and possibly compete with Ian Stewart at the hot corner.