40-Man Roster is set

The Pittsburgh Pirates have set their 40-man roster, by adding Brad Lincoln, Gorkys Hernandez, Bryan Morris, and Ramon Aguero today. To make room for these players, the Pirates designated Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, and Robinzon Diaz for assignment.

I’m surprised that Diaz was designated for assignment. The Pirates now have ten days to try and trade him, although he could be claimed off of waivers by another team (and considering the catching market is thin, this seems likely). Diaz spent time at other positions, like first base, third base, and right field, and would have been a good guy to have on the roster. I’d rather have him than Luis Cruz or Brian Bixler. (UPDATE: Diaz is eligible for minor league free agency, and according to Jennifer Langosch, he was unsatisfied with being stuck behind Doumit and Jaramillo, which means he’s likely to opt for free agency and sign elsewhere.)
Thomas was recently claimed by the Pirates from Seattle. My guess is that they claimed him only to DFA him at this time. He already cleared through waivers in the American League once. There will be a lot of players going through waivers in the next few days. We already know the AL teams weren’t interested in him. There’s a good chance he could fly under the radar and be assigned to the minor league squad.
Karstens was a Super Two eligible player, which may have sealed his fate. I didn’t have a problem with keeping him this year, as his raise would have likely been about $300 K. However, I think he could also sneak through waivers, as teams would have to add him to the 40-man roster in a claim, and would be on the hook for his arbitration price.
The additions made a lot of sense. Lincoln, Hernandez, and Morris were obvious, due to their top prospect status, and the investments that have been made in those players. Aguero is a hard throwing reliever who projects as a back of the bullpen option. He could be in the majors as early as 2010.
The Pirates also claimed relief pitcher Chris Jakubauskas off of waivers from Seattle. Jakubauskas, who turns 31 in December, spent the entire 2009 season with Seattle. He’s a 6′ 2″, 215 pound right hander who made eight starts for Seattle in his 35 appearances in 2009. His overall line was a 5.32 ERA in 93 innings pitched, with a 4.5 K/9, a 2.6 BB/9, and a 1.5 HR/9 ratio.
Jakubauskas profiles well as a reliever, with a 4.30 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, a 5.3 K/9, and a 2.38 K/BB in 52.1 innings in 2009. He’s basically Jeff Karstens, only he has two more years at league minimum pricing, which means the Pirates save at least $300 K for similar production out of the bullpen, along with adding an emergency starter.
The 2010 40-man roster/payroll projection is updated with the moves. The projected payroll now sits just under $35 M, calculating the estimated arbitration raises. The Future Payroll Commitments Chart is also updated, as well as the 2010 Projected 25-Man Roster. I added Luis Cruz to replace Diaz, and Jakubauskas to replace Karstens.
I’ll have another post with the Rule 5 eligible players in a bit.

Author: 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.

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