The option status of players on the 40-man roster is always an important situation to follow. Remaining options play a big role in who gets roster spots. A guy who is out of options is usually going to win a roster spot over a guy with options if the two players are close. They can determine what kind of development plan a player can expect to see. For example, Chris Leroux has been strong in multi-inning outings, but in order to convert him to a starter he would need to spend some time in AAA getting stretched out and building up his stamina. That can’t happen without an option. Options also determine how short or long the leash might be for a player if he struggles in the majors. If a player struggles with an option, he might be sent down to AAA. If a player is out of options, he might be given a bit more time to rebound, as the only way to remove him from the roster is exposing him to waivers.
Here are the Pittsburgh Pirates players on the 40-man roster who are out of options at the end of the 2011 season.
The first group of players are out of options, although their option status doesn’t really matter, since they wouldn’t see the minors even if they had options.
Ronny Cedeno (option year)
The second group features players who have options remaining, but who have at least five years of service time. Players with five years of service time or more can refuse an optional assignment, thus essentially putting them on the same page as players who are out of options. Like the first group, none of these players are really candidates for an optional assignment, with the possible exception of Kevin Correia, depending on how the rotation plays out.
Paul Maholm (option year)
Chris Snyder (option year)
Ryan Doumit (option year)
On the Fringe
The last group features the remaining players who are out of options after the 2011 season.
Jose Veras – With the bullpen depth the Pirates have, a combination of no options and arbitration could result in Veras being non-tendered.
Brian Burres – I don’t see him sticking with the team beyond September.
Garrett Jones – He was out of options this year as well.
Chris Resop – Also out of options in 2011.
Jason Jaramillo – With the recently added Matt Pagnozzi, combined with Mike McKenry and Eric Fryer on the 40-man roster, we could see Jaramillo gone over the off-season.
Brandon Wood – He was out of options this year. I don’t see them paying him arbitration to stick around.
Xavier Paul – Same situation as Wood, although he’s not eligible for arbitration. I don’t see him sticking around.
Kevin Hart – Currently on the 60-day disabled list, and will probably be designated for assignment, rather than held on the 40-man roster all off-season until the disabled list becomes available again in March.
Chris Leroux – Used his final option year in 2011, but his performance of late might lock him in to a bullpen spot next year.
Jason Grilli – Was out of options when he came to the Pirates. Has one year of arbitration left. Could be the same situation as Veras.
Pedro Ciriaco – No more flying back and forth between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh for Ciriaco.