In ten days, the Bucs will have to formalize their 40-man roster to protect their prospects from the Rule 5 draft raiders. Right now, it consists of 34 players:
Pitchers (19): Kevin Correia, Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan, Jared Hughes, Jeff Karstens, Chris Leroux, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Locke, Daniel McCutchen, Jame McDonald, Kyle McPherson, Evan Meek, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Daniel Moskos, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Resop, Jose Veras, Tony Watson.
Gone: Brian Burres, Kevin Hart, Paul Maholm, Aaron Thompson.
Catchers (4): Eric Fryer, Jason Jaramillo, Mike McKenry, Matt Pagnozzi.
Gone Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder.
Infield (5): Pedro Alvarez, Pedro Ciriaco, Chase d'Arnaud, Josh Harrison, Neil Walker.
Gone: Ronnie Cedeno, Derrek Lee, Steve Pearce, Brandon Wood.
Outfield (6): Gorkys Hernandez, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Xavier Paul, Alex Presley, Jose Tabata.
Gone: Ryan Ludwick
The Pirates have already jettisoned 11 players from last year's 40-man roster (15 if you count declared minor league free agents RHP Jose Ascanio, LHP Garrett Olsen and Cs Dusty Brown & Wyatt Toregas), and we'd expect a couple more players to go. OF Starling Marte along with LHPs Rudy Owen and Justin Miller will certainly be added this season, and the Pirates have to give serious consideration to including SS Jordy Mercer and 1B Matt Hague among the fortunate forty.
The Bucs also have an assortment of farm club pitchers in the Nate Adcock mold who project to be middle-inning relievers/spot starters. That's a position of strength in the organization, and they may risk losing an arm or two if they don't protect them. But it's not, nor should be, a high priority. Their top end pitching is still too young to be draft-eligible, and that's where the action is.
Beside protecting their home grown products, the Pirates have to clear some room for players brought in via off season trade or the free-agent market. With holes in the rotation, first base, shortstop and catching to patch, we'd be surprised if the FO didn't make a push to bring in a handful of vets before trying to fill the positions internally.
They may also have an eye out for a Rule 5 prospect during the December 8th draft. Though it's less likely this season than in year's past, it remains a possibility.
So the paring probably isn't quite done yet; another player or two may be looking for a new clubhouse before the 18th.