Last night was the deadline for teams to tender offers to their unsigned players. The Pittsburgh Pirates tendered offers to all of their arbitration eligible players, signed Jason Grilli to a one year deal, and traded Jose Veras to Milwaukee for Casey McGehee. I broke down all of the moves last night after the deadline.
With the arbitration offers tendered, the projected 25-man roster is starting to take shape. It’s far from being finalized, but it’s to the point where we can upload the annual 25-man roster projection. I’ve uploaded a new page this year, which can be found here. The page is updated with my estimated 25-man roster, based solely on the current players on the 40-man roster, plus the non-roster invitees. Some thoughts:
-The Pirates have McGehee and Jones lined up to take first base. I’m fine with McGehee starting, since he’s only a year removed from a .285 average, 23 home run, .801 OPS season. That said, I’d like to see the Pirates try to get a better first base option. Things look much better with Jones serving as an outfielder off the bench and McGehee serving as a backup at first, second, and third, while providing insurance for Alvarez. If Alvarez goes down, you’ve got McGehee and Jones starting at the corners. That’s not ideal.
-Looking at the bench, I wouldn’t put much stock in Nick Evans making the team. He’s a popular non-roster invitee, but there doesn’t seem to be room for him with McGehee and Jones, unless the Pirates carry three first base types. There’s a bigger need for a middle infielder, unless they want to put the backup middle infield duties solely on Rule 5 pick Gustavo Nunez.
-You could make an argument that the Pirates could use another starting pitcher. Morton will miss the first month of the season, although the Pirates can get by with a spot starter until the end of April. You can’t count on Bedard for a full season. Brad Lincoln provides some immediate depth. Chris Leroux is an outside the box option for a spot starter, as he spent the off-season working on his off-speed pitches. Outside of those two the Pirates don’t have anyone who would be ready on Opening Day. Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, and Kyle McPherson could be options at some point in 2012.
-The bullpen looks strong. The Pirates would have Jared Hughes, Daniel Moskos, Bryan Morris, and Duke Welker at the AAA level using this projection. They’ve got some strong depth, and could afford to deal someone if needed.