McCutchen and Bixler demoted

The Pirates demoted Andrew McCutchen and Brian Bixler, two of their hottest hitters in Spring Training, sending both to AAA. The impact of the moves can be seen on the Spring Training Tracker and the 25-man roster projection.

The move to demote McCutchen is no surprise. First, McCutchen is not on the current 40-man roster. Second, the Pirates have options in the majors like Brandon Moss and Nyjer Morgan who are on the 40-man roster, and will receive the first shot. Make no mistake about it, McCutchen owns a job in Pittsburgh when he is called up.

The big reason McCutchen was sent down was to delay his arbitration clock, even if the Pirates aren’t willing to say it publicly. If the Pirates were to bring McCutchen up on Opening Day, he would be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. If the Pirates wait a month, McCutchen is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. Makes sense to wait a month and gain an extra year of service time.

Furthermore, if the Pirates wait until June to bring McCutchen up, they avoid him running in two “Super-Two” status, which means he would receive four years of arbitration and two league minimum years, rather than the standard three and three. I’m hoping they just lock him up right away, like Tampa Bay did with Evan Longoria, and like Milwaukee did with Ryan Braun.

As for Bixler, I went over how thin the Pirates are at shortstop in the minor league system. Bixler is the only real option to replace Jack Wilson if Wilson were to depart. It only makes sense to have him working everyday on his defense and hitting, rather than holding a spot on the bench in the majors.

Luis Cruz will most likely take the final bench spot, unless the Pirates add someone from the outside. Chances are that final bench spot will belong to Andy Phillips after Phillips spends some time rehabbing and working on his second base skills at AAA.

The Pirates have 35 players left in camp, and five spots on the roster remaining.

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Bixler and McCutchen Reassigned

Next Story »

Sanchez wants to stay in Pittsburgh

Latest Analysis

  • Adrian Sampson

    Don’t Forget About This Pitcher When Creating Your Pirates Dream Rotation

    15 hours ago

    If you’re setting up a dream rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the not-too-distant future, then you’re going to be throwing out names like Tyler Glasnow, Gerrit ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Jose Tabata Changed His Swing After Talking With Marlon Byrd

    1 day ago

    Yesterday, Jose Tabata put one on the roof of the batting cages over the left-field fence at Pirate City. Today, he added two more. By that pattern, ...

    Read More
  • Antonio Bastardo

    How Ray Searage is Trying to Fix Antonio Bastardo’s Control Issues

    2 days ago

    Tony Watson has established himself as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Out of 142 qualified relievers last year, he ranked 21st in WAR, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Q&A: Will PNC Park Burn Down When Neil Walker Eventually Leaves?

    2 days ago

    Last week we started a Q&A article that will run every Friday. Right after the first article went up, we got a lot more questions. Normally I’ll ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow

    The Change That Will Help Tyler Glasnow Reach His Upside

    3 days ago

    The 2011 draft made headlines for the Pittsburgh Pirates for two main reasons. They selected Gerrit Cole first overall, and gave him a record-setting bonus of $8 ...

    Read More
  • Jameson Taillon

    The Next Steps in Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John Rehab Process

    4 days ago

    Jameson Taillon threw a bullpen session yesterday, which I outlined in the daily recap. Taillon is still in “rehab mode” as Clint Hurdle put it, which means ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement