Will Josh Rodriguez Make the Roster?

In each of the last four years, Neal Huntington has made a selection in the Rule 5 draft.  In 2008 the Pirates selected Evan Meek.  In 2009 it was Donald Veal.  In 2010 they had John Raynor.  This year the Pirates have shortstop Josh Rodriguez, selected from the Cleveland Indians.  Each year the Pirates have opened the season with their Rule 5 pick on the roster, although that could change this year.

In Colin Dunlap’s notes after Sunday’s game with Tampa Bay, he noted the following:

From what Neal Huntington said in the pregame news conference, by mentioning that Josh Rodriguez would be in a good situation with the Cleveland Indians if he went back there with this Rule 5 deal, it seems likely Rodriguez is on the outside looking into a roster spot right now with the Pirates.

Will Rodriguez make the Opening Day roster?

Because the Pirates have kept their Rule 5 pick for the start of each season in each of the last three years, it’s been assumed that Rodriguez will make the team.  However, there is some competition for the middle infield bench spots, which could force Rodriguez off the roster.  Corey Wimberly is an intriguing option, adding a lot of speed off the bench, with the ability to play both middle infield spots, and the outfield.  Pedro Ciriaco is strong defensively at shortstop, and could be a good starting option if Ronny Cedeno continues with the inconsistent performance that we’ve seen from him in the past.

So far Rodriguez has seen more playing time, although it’s early.  Heading in to today, he’s played three games, with five at-bats.  Ciriaco has played two games, with three at-bats.  Wimberly has played two games, with two at-bats.  Both Ciriaco and Rodriguez started in today’s game against the Yankees.  Obviously not a lot can be made off of a few days of Spring Training action, although the early playing time favors Rodriguez.

Wimberly brings speed and versatility, while Ciriaco brings strong defense to the table.  Rodriguez also brings something to the table, and that’s some power from the middle infield position.  Rodriguez is also the only player the Pirates would lose if he didn’t make the Opening Day roster.  Despite their individual strengths, none of the options really project to be starting material in the majors in the future.

The choice between the three players really comes down to a preference between the individual strengths.  If the Pirates want to focus on defense, the choice would be Ciriaco.  If they want power, the choice would be Rodriguez.  If they want speed and a guy who can also play other positions, the choice would be Wimberly.  Considering that they might have power off the bench with guys like Garrett Atkins, and considering they’ve been aggressive on the bases, and have focused on speed this off-season, it wouldn’t surprise me if Wimberly ends up winning the middle infield bench spot over Rodriguez.

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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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  • Anonymous

    Does Wimberly have a chance of winning the 5th outfielder job over Bowker?

    The way I see it Wimberly is a better fit there than Bowker. He would be able to back up LF and CF something I doubt Bowker could do effectively and he would add speed.

    With Overbay, Jones, Diaz and presumably Atkins I don’t see where Bowker fits into the 1B/RF discussion. Keeping Wimberly and one of Rodriguez/Ciriaco looks to provide more than keeping Bowker and one of Wimberly/Rodriguez/Ciriaco.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BHYVZEHZ5AL3YBY5ZW2CTJXH3Y Ryan G

    I was at the Yankee game yesterday, and Ciriaco’s defense really impressed me. He also didn’t totally look lost at the plate. The opposite was true of Rodriguez. He looked bad at the plate and at second. I know it was only one game, but Rodriguez better pick it up if he wants to make the roster.

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