Pirates Notebook: Could Pearce or Walker be on the way?

It seems like every night I’ve got some post talking about upcoming roster moves, the roster moves that were made that day, and any other contingency that could affect the roster moves.  Tonight we’ve got a new batch of updates, leading to some speculation.

First, the Pirates designated John Raynor for assignment, and purchased the contract of Jeff Karstens, according to Dejan Kovacevic.  Karstens will start tomorrow against Milwaukee, and I hope he hits Ryan Braun with the first pitch he throws to him.  Seriously, what can it hurt?  It’s not like that’s going to be the thing costing the Pirates a win tomorrow.

As for Raynor, since he was a Rule 5 selection, he will have to be placed on waivers.  If he clears waivers, he will have to be offered back to his original team, the Florida Marlins, for $25,000 (just FYI, the Pirates don’t get the money, it goes to MLB).  If the Marlins decline Raynor, or if the Pirates manage to work out a deal with Florida, they could send Raynor to Indianapolis (similar to what they did with Evan Meek in 2008).  Neal Huntington mentioned in the link above that he would like to work out a deal to retain Raynor.

I think this is the best route to take with Raynor.  He was wasting a roster spot if they weren’t using him. He’s 26 years old, so it’s now or never for him to show his production.  He either needs to spend this season getting a shot in the majors, or getting everyday playing time at the AAA level.  Hopefully the Pirates can retain him and keep him in Indianapolis.

The move leaves one less bat on the Pirates bench, which based on the hitting over the past week, probably won’t be noticed.  However, that will likely lead to an upcoming move to add a hitter from Indianapolis.  The two biggest candidates are Steve Pearce and Neil Walker.  Pearce is hitting for a .417/.507/.733 line in 60 at-bats at the AAA level this season, with two homers, 11 walks, and 10 strikeouts.  Walker is hitting for a .328/.406/.525 line in 61 at-bats, with two homers, eight walks, and nine strikeouts.

My choice would be Pearce.  Right now Andy LaRoche is one of the few players who is hitting for the Pirates.  Pearce could take some at-bats from Jeff Clement at first base, or he could help out in the outfield.

The 25-man roster page and the 40-man roster/payroll projection have both been updated.  I guess we should be expecting the next set of moves to come after tomorrow’s game, which will lead to yet another update.

Goats of the Game
The bottom five players of the game, according to FanGraphs.  WPA stands for “Win Probability Added” and represents the impact the player had on his team’s chances of winning.  It’s based off of percentages, with each team starting the game with a 50% chance to win.  It is presented in decimal form, so .152 would equal 15.2%, meaning the player in question would have increased his team’s chances of winning by 15.2%.
1. Zach Duke: -.331 WPA
2. Ryan Doumit: -.093 WPA
3. Ronny Cedeno: -.049 WPA
4. Ryan Church: -.040 WPA
5. Jeff Clement: -.025 WPA
Other Stuff
-The 2010 Draft Prospects Rundown for 4/26 is up.

-Jim at North Side Notch has a video recap of Brad Lincoln from Sunday’s start.  Check it out if you want to see a good performance from someone in the Pirates’ organization.  He also has a video recap of Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, and Jose Tabata at the plate.

-Charlie at Bucs Dugout does an April edition of the top 30 prospects in the Pirates’ farm system.

-MLB Trade Rumors did an interview with Neal Huntington on his first trade as a General Manager, which was the Salomon Torres deal.

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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