Sunday, October 5, 2014

Let the Tinkering Begin...

The Bucs' one-and-done post-season leaves Neal Huntington plenty of time to work on next year's roster. He's already playing around the edges of the 40-man roster, kinda surprising for this early in the process.

First, the team bought relief pitcher Preston Guilmet from Baltimore to begin their stockpiling of fringe arms to evaluate for 2015 depth purposes. The 27 year old righty has been up and down in the show, with 14 appearances and a 6.89 ERA. He has an impressive minor league pedigree, with 378 K in 346 IP, 2.76 ERA and 100 saves. Unlike most guys the Pirates add, Guilmet has some idea of where the plate is, walking less than 2 batters per nine. His bread-and-butter pitch is a splitter. He still has a option left, so Jim Benedict will have a season to tinker.

He was swapped out with JT, who was DFA'ed (again), on the 40-man roster. Tabata still has two guaranteed years on his contract worth $8.5M with a $250K buyout in 2017, so there's not much chance of him being picked up. There's even less chance of him becoming a free agent and kissing that money good bye.

There are a couple of minor league guys who did jump ship, though. Vin Mazzaro is one. After posting a decent 2013 season, he was used just five times for 10+ innings this season and didn't even rate a September call-up. Sorta surprising, given his counting numbers, but he did clear waivers twice during the season. The other is first baseman Chris McGuiness, another brick in the LH first baseman wall the Pirates built last year.

Following on the agenda are qualifying offers for MLB FA's. We're assuming that Frankie and Russ will be tendered, which will not be the case for Eddie and Clint Barmes, a pair that may or may not be in the Bucs 2015 plans. The team can make a qualifying offer five days after the World Series; the players have a week to accept or not after that.

The arb-eligible players are next on the menu; they have be tendered by December 2nd. The Pirates have 13 of them: Neil Walker, Josh Harrison, Tony Watson, Travis Snider, Jared Hughes, Pedro Alvarez and Vance Worley are the no-brainers among them. But decisions will have to be made on Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Stewart and Jeanmar Gomez, while John Axford and Brent Morel are fairly certain non-tender candidates.

Finally, the 40-man roster will have to be set bedore the December 12th Rule 5 draft. Certainly pitchers Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham will be protected; there are another half dozen guys who will be debated. There shouldn't be much problem with those moves, though. There are plenty of available spots and swaps to revamp the 40-man without too much pain.

The playoffs aren't nearly over yet, but in Pittsburgh, the hot stove league is ready to roll.

1 comment:

WilliamJPellas said...

Tabata is certainly a strange case. Even with his once-moderate power and once-better than average speed almost totally gone, he is STILL a decent hitter for average and I've never heard anyone say he kills you with a glove in his hand. Generally you don't poop can hitters of his caliber---even if they're one dimensional, as Tabata now appears to be---unless something else negative is going on.

Re: Mazzaro, I don't get that one, either. He was a very useful guy who could pitch multiple innings at a time, and you need that in your 'pen. He was fairly effective in 2013. This organization as currently constructed definitely seems to get into one track mind patterns with certain players, who are never heard from again no matter what they do once the front office and/or field mgr decides they just don't like you. Very strange. Not that Mazzaro is going to be the difference between the Wild Card and the World Series, but still....