Creating Space on the 40-Man For Sanchez and Inge

Charlie Morton could be a candidate for the 60-day disabled list, which would clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Charlie Morton could be a candidate for the 60-day disabled list, which would clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

The Pirates committed roster spots to Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge today, which means they will eventually have to create spots on the 40-man roster for each player. Both players were Article XX-B free agents, which means the team had until today to either commit a roster spot to them, pay them a $100,000 bonus to retain their services as a minor league free agent, or release them. That’s a new classification this year, brought on by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The catch here is that teams can commit a roster spot to a player without making a corresponding move right away. The Pirates don’t have to open those 40-man spots until they submit their final roster.

The team currently has two players who could be eligible for the 60-day disabled list. Charlie Morton and Francisco Liriano are both rehabbing, and both throwing bullpen sessions. Morton is returning from Tommy John surgery, and just threw his third bullpen and live BP a few days ago. Liriano threw his third bullpen a few days ago, and is hoping to be back in a month. The Pirates could place either player on the 60-day disabled list, but that would put them out until June 1st. Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington noted that the team will hold off on those decisions, hoping that both players could be ready before June 1st.

“We’re still fighting up against the clock with Charlie and Francisco and want to try and keep them off the 60-day if we can,” Huntington said. “If we feel like there’s a legitimate chance we can have them back before June 1st, we want to be able to have them back before June 1st. But sometimes you bang up against roster issues, sometimes you bang up against some other things — any setbacks or anything like that. But as we sit here right now they both have a legitimate chance to be ready to go on, or before [June 1st].”

If the Pirates did place one, or both, on the 60-day DL, that would clear up a roster spot on the 40-man. It seems more likely that Morton will go on the 60-day at this point, with Liriano having a better shot at returning before June 1st. If the Pirates need a second spot, that would have to come from designating a player on the 40-man roster for assignment. That problem could work itself out, depending on what happens with the final position battles on the 25-man.

Jeanmar Gomez is currently fighting for the final spot in the rotation. He could also be an option for the bullpen. If he doesn’t make the team, Gomez is out of options and would have to be designated for assignment. That would open up the final roster spot, if it’s still needed. At this point I’d say the fifth starter spot will go to Jeff Locke. Gomez would have a shot at the bullpen if Jeff Karstens has to start the year on the disabled list. That seems likely to happen, which means the Pirates would have to find someone else to remove from the 40-man roster.

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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, 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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  • jalcorn

    Seems pretty simple, realistically Morton will not be back by June 1st, no point in holding out hope for him to beat that target by a few days. Liriano says he’ll be ready before May, vets require fare less time than prospects, see Burnett, AJ circa 2012, he should not be an option at all.

    The other spot could easily be Gomez or Leroux, neither has any place in the big leagues. Leroux can’t be effective at 89-90, he looks nothing like he did in 2011. They could also waive Clint Robinson or Josh Harrison, neither of which add much or have a future in Pittsburgh.

    • Stephen Brooks

      Agree on Harrison. Depth at AAA is now to the point that I don’t know how he even gets ABs in Indianapolis. Mercer, IDJ and d’Arnaud are better options already.

      Robinson is at least intriguing with the power potential.

      Gomez is pure filler. Better options are flooding the market today among the XX (B) crowd.

  • Y2JGQ2

    I agree with Harrison, but we just got Robinson and have no idea what he can do. Neither does anyone else since he’s never gotten a shot. Waiving a middle infielder does make some sense since now we have too many of them who are garbage. I can’t see Gomez sticking on the team for the whole year, so i’d go with him first. Leroux is going to be given a shot since he’s always pitched well and has ML experience. his velocity could increase as the season goes on anyways.

    • jalcorn

      Leroux could get it back, but hes velocity has been down since getting hurt in 2011. He was at 91.0 mph last year down from 93.7 in 2011.

      I like Robinson too, have for 3 years now, but realistically he is blocked by so many here and his time is now or never.

      Anyhow, I would cut Gomez, Morton to the 60 day.

      • Matt Beam

        agree, would rather part ways with Gomez and go get somebody like Miguel Batista to pitch out of the bullpen

        speaking of bullpen, anybody notice that Brad Lincoln got sent down to the minors by Toronto yesterday?

        • bohringer9

          I would cut Gomez as well, but cutting him would not allow us to go get another player from outside the organization, as we would have to find a 40-man spot for them.

  • imadushbag

    i think if we dfa gomez he will clear waivers. idk if he will ask for his release, or accept the assignment.

  • Kevin Anstrom

    I really like Gomez.

    Quality stuff with great sinking movement.

  • Blue Bomber

    I don’t get all the manuevering to keep Brandon Inge. This guy hasn’t shone anything in two years, and he never was that good. Harrison isn’t great, but is Inge any better? If they don’t like Harrison, give Mercer the spot.

  • ianmonk

    You have one highlight listed of what happens to be Gomez’s best game as a pro probably. He’s not that good on a consistent basis. They need to get rid of him, I don’t see how he can help this team.

  • Faye Zbuksukcz

    I’ll take another angle: Bucs have a week to convert Felix Pie to a utility infielder :-)

    Then you could get rid of everybody!

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