With Spring Training winding down, there will be a lot of roster shuffling this week in order to set the final 25-man. We already saw Hayden Penn claimed and Brandon Moss designated for assignment today. My current 25-man roster projection still has two more moves that would need to be made to add the likes of D.J. Carrasco and Jack Taschner, or whoever gets the final bullpen spot (it’s guaranteed to be a player that needs to be added, since there are no bullpen options on the 40-man that are still in camp).
The Pirates won’t have problems clearing those two spots. They have Ramon Vazquez, Delwyn Young, and John Raynor fighting for two spots. Whoever doesn’t make the team will be removed from the 40-man roster, clearing one spot. Right now it’s looking like Young and Raynor will win the final bench spots, which means Vazquez will be removed. The Pirates also need to place Jose Ascanio on the 60-day disabled list, which will clear the second spot.
According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pirates are considering sending Jason Jaramillo to the minors to start the season, in order to keep him fresh for
a potential the inevitable Ryan Doumit injury. Jaramillo would take over as the starter in that scenario, with Erik Kratz remaining as the backup in the majors. That would require an additional spot on the 40-man roster, which is where the decision making gets interesting.
Some candidates to be the final cut for that move are Steve Pearce, Brandon Jones, Chris Jakubauskas, and Neil Walker. It’s probably unlikely that the Pirates would cut some of those guys, but that doesn’t rule out a possible trade to clear a roster space. We could also see Moss get traded in similar fashion this week.
If the Pirates wanted to retain as many players as possible, they could just keep Jaramillo in the majors to start the season. However, since Doumit has a planned trip to the DL every season, it’s a smart move to plan ahead and keep Jaramillo fresh. Any of the four players mentioned above wouldn’t be a big loss to the Pirates, as all four project as bench players or bullpen arms.