Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pirate Roster As Of Today

OK, time to look at the upcoming 25-man roster now that most of the shouting has died down. It's still possible that the team picks up another starter for depth purposes - think Brian Burres - or somehow Derrik Lee falls into their laps, although it looks like they have first base covered now.

Our guess would be that the other pick-ups will be minor-league deals, especially as the market for closers doesn't appear to be so tight that the FO will get what they want for Hanny. So here goes:

Rotation: Eric Bedard, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia and Brad Lincoln will be the five when camp breaks, as Charlie Morton is likely to start the year on the DL. Lincoln has an option left, but he'll see plenty of action in Pittsburgh given the health history of the staff. Chris Leroux could fill the old Karstens role of spot starter; he has the desire and stretched out in winter ball as a starter.

Jeff Locke got his feet wet last year, and Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson have to rebound from disappointing debuts at Indy. Pittsburgh still isn't very deep here for all the pitching they've collected and lack an ace-quality arm.

Bullpen: Hanny will close, but the set-up job will be contentious. Evan Meek has a foot up, but if he falters, Chris Resop and perhaps Jason Grilli could step in. Chris Leroux is out of options and should stick while Anthony Watson will represent the lefties. That's six guys, and we think the last spot will come down to Daniel McCutchen or lefty Daniel Moskos. D-Mac is out of options while Moskos has a pair in hand, and that could be the determining factor.

Bryan Morris, Duke Welker, Tim Wood and Aaron Poseda will be on hand. It's deep and a nice pen on paper, depending on how Meek pitches after missing most of 2011 to injuries. Jose Veras was the local whipping boy in 2011, but he was the set-up guy and his 79 appearances will leave a large hole to fill.

Outfield: Alex Presley, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata will start with Nate McLouth as the cavalry should one of the corner guys go down or have performance issues. Our guess is that they'll stick with those four and count on Garrett Jones as the fifth OF'er.

The FO hasn't shown much love for Gorkys Hernandez, and Starling Marte is still a step away. There's an outside chance that Jake Fox, a super utility guy, could be a bench corner outfielder, and Andrew Lambo is still on the radar.

Corner Infield: Pedro Alvarez will get the nod at third; Jones and an accomplice to be named later, probably Casey McGehee, will platoon at first. Jones hits righties well, but McGehee had big trouble with lefties last year, batting at just a .169 clip against them. That's why we think Nick Evans will stick with the club; he's a proven lefty basher and a good glove man, a perfect insurance policy for the position.

Matt Hague, Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison will be the upper-level reserves, and the last two are versatile enough to handle third, short and second. Hague is a first baseman working out at third to improve his versatility. Fox is a corner reserve.

Middle Infield: Neil Walker and Clint Barmes will hold the fort, and we're hoping they're ironmen, as Yamaico Navarro is their likely back-up.

Gustavo Nunez for Pedro Ciriaco was a mind-blowing depth swap, and our guess is Rule V pick Gus goes back to Detroit sooner rather than later. Chase d'Arnaud and Brock Holt will open the season in the minors; Mercer is also a candidate here.

Catcher: Looks like Rod Barajas and Mike McKenry are the dynamic duo; we're still not sure why Jason Jaramillo was released.

This spot is considerably weaker than last year's was, at least prior to the injury epidemic. Tony Sanchez, Eric Fryer and Ramon Cabrera still need polished up quite a bit. Jose Morales and perhaps Fox are third catcher candidates.

GW's 25 Man Roster:

Pitchers (12): Eric Bedard, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan, Chris Leroux, Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, James McDonald, Evan Meek, Chris Resop and Anthony Watson. (Charlie Morton - 15 day DL)

Outfield (4): Andrew McCutchen, Nate McLouth, Alex Presley and Jose Tabata.

Catchers (2): Rod Barajas and Mike McKenry.

Infield (7): Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes, Brian Evans, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee, Yamiaco Navarro and Neil Walker.


Anonymous said...

I believe the 3rd catcher will be Jose Morales.

Ron Ieraci said...

Morales does have a pretty good stick - he DH'ed some for the Twins and has a .286 BA - and his throw-out percentage is OK at 34%, even tho he's reputed to have a so-so arm.

I checked a little more, and it seems, at least in Minnesota, that he was hurt a lot. I'm curious to see how good he is defensively. It'd be nice to have someone push Mike McKenry for that backup job.