The Final Three Roster Spots

Ciriaco is battling for one of the final bench spots.

After the news this morning that the Pittsburgh Pirates cut four players, there are three roster spots remaining.  The cuts this morning left Steve Pearce with a roster spot on the bench, while Garrett Olson is all but a guarantee to win a job in the bullpen.  Here are the other guarantees, which can also be found on the Spring Training tracker.

Catcher – Chris Snyder

First Base - Lyle Overbay

Second Base - Neil Walker

Shortstop - Ronny Cedeno

Third Base - Pedro Alvarez

Left Field - Jose Tabata

Center Field - Andrew McCutchen

Right Field - Garrett Jones

Bench - Ryan Doumit, Matt Diaz, Steve Pearce

Rotation – Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, James McDonald

Bullpen - Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens, Garrett Olson, Jose Veras

That leaves three spots on the 25-man roster: two bench spots and one bullpen spot.  There could be an extra bullpen spot if James McDonald isn’t ready to start the season, at which point Jeff Karstens would move to the rotation.  Here is a breakdown of each position battle.

Backup Middle Infielder

Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Rodriguez are battling for the backup middle infield spot.  Rodriguez is a Rule 5 selection, which means that if he doesn’t make the team, he has to be offered back to the Cleveland Indians, who have said they would welcome him back.  Ciriaco is actually leading the battle due to his performance this Spring.  He’s stronger defensively, and is possibly the strongest defender at shortstop in the entire organization.  Ciriaco has also been working in the outfield, which further improves his chances of landing a bench spot.  This could be a case of performance (Ciriaco) versus roster status (Rodriguez) as the main reason Rodriguez is still in the discussion is his Rule 5 status.

Three Catchers?

The final bench spot will most likely go to John Bowker, unless the Pirates decide to carry three catchers.  If that were to happen, Jason Jaramillo would make the team, which would put Bowker on the waiver wire, since he is out of options.  Jaramillo could make the team, especially when you consider that Chris Snyder has an injured back, and Ryan Doumit hasn’t been the perfect picture of health during his career.  There is the chance that Snyder could be placed on the disabled list, with the Pirates going for a Doumit/Jaramillo combo, although that’s only a possibility, and nothing the Pirates have talked about.

There’s no guarantee that Bowker would make the team if the Pirates only carried two catchers.  They could always keep both of the middle infield options, especially with Ciriaco working in the outfield, and Clint Hurdle wanting some speed off the bench.  However, Bowker’s roster status makes him the favorite.

Bullpen

The final three pitchers competing for a bullpen spot are Michael Crotta, Chris Leroux, and Jose Ascanio.  I watched Ascanio yesterday at Pirate City, and he did not look good at all, throwing around 91 MPH, and displaying poor command.  His one inning of work ended when he reached his pitch count early.  I don’t see him making the team at all, which means he would have to be removed from the 40-man roster.  That would clear the space needed to add Jose Veras to the 40-man roster.

Michael Crotta is the clear leader of the remaining two options, as he has yet to allow a run this Spring, and has looked good pitching in relief.  If the Pirates do have two bullpen spots available, it could be possible that Chris Leroux also makes the team, although as of right now James McDonald is slated to start the season on the 25-man roster.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

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.

Pirates Cut Brown, Burres, Marte, and Wimberly

Next Story »

Jeffrey Inman Looking To Bounce Back

  • Anonymous

    none of pearce, ciriaco, bowker or rodriguez have played themselves off the club this ST, or for that matter, neither did marte.
    if pearce has made the club, ciriaco gets demoted or rodriguez to the DL to keep both, with one making the club along with bowker, pearce?, diaz, doumit.
    i couldn’t agree with losing rodriguez, when both ciriaco and pearce have an option. josh could be offered back at any time, if he played himself off the roster going forward.

  • Anonymous

    none of pearce, ciriaco, bowker or rodriguez have played themselves off the club this ST, or for that matter, neither did marte.
    if pearce has made the club, ciriaco gets demoted or rodriguez to the DL to keep both, with one making the club along with bowker, pearce?, diaz, doumit.
    i couldn’t agree with losing rodriguez, when both ciriaco and pearce have an option. josh could be offered back at any time, if he played himself off the roster going forward.

Latest Analysis

  • Billy Roth is the top prospect in Bristol this year.

    Another Projectable Prep Pitcher Sees An Increase in His Velocity

    3 hours ago

    When discussing the best Pittsburgh Pirates draft under Neal Huntington, the 2011 group has to be at the top of the list. It features Gerrit Cole, Tyler ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    6 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    2 weeks ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More