Pirates Make What Appears to be Final Cuts

Kyle McPherson was optioned to Triple-A today.

Kyle McPherson was optioned to Triple-A today.

The Pittsburgh Pirates made the following moves this morning:

Optioned Kyle McPherson, Alex Presley, and Jordy Mercer to Triple-A.

Re-assigned Lucas May, Ryan Reid, Mike Zagurski, Carlos Paulino, Vin Mazzaro, and Felix Pie to minor league camp.

That leaves 26 active players in camp, although Brandon Inge could start the year on the disabled list, with Josh Harrison making the bench.

Jeanmar Gomez is in the bullpen today, so it looks like Jeff Locke will be the fifth starter.

The roster as it stands now:

Bench: Michael McKenry, Gaby Sanchez, John McDonald, Jose Tabata, Brandon Inge/Josh Harrison

Bullpen: Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon, Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson, Chris Leroux, Jeanmar Gomez

Rotation: A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald, Jonathan Sanchez, Jeff Locke

Catcher – Russell Martin

First Base – Garrett Jones

Second Base – Neil Walker

Shortstop – Clint Barmes

Third Base – Pedro Alvarez

Outfield – Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Travis Snider

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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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Pirate City Notes: Minor League Rosters Starting to Take Shape

  • John

    Why do I feel underwhelmed?

    • rbaraff

      Umless you mean a general sense of underwhelmed, i have to ask – What did you expect to be different that you are underwhelmed? Other than the 4th starter and one bench spot, this is about the roster that was predicted.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

      ….unrealistic expectations?

      • dr dng

        I am new at this and not very knowledgeable, but I do have a couple of questions and comments. Your response is appreciated, but please try to be nice to a neubie…

        1) Looks like Indy is going to be strong. Will have to make a trip out to see them.

        2) What are the Pirates going to do with all of the Garrett Jones clones? I like Jones. He seems to work hard.

        3) Who do you think will be the first call ups from the minors? Players? Pitchers?

        4) Pirates also seem to have a significant number of catchers and more in the pipeline. I guess insurance after 2011?

        5) Pirates were quite healthy in 2012.
        Can they repeat that in 2013?

        5) Ok. Pirates 2013? +/-83 wins? I just don’t know.

        How did I do?

        • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

          2.) I think the plan with the jones clones will be to just let them play and see how the major league team is doing. Most of the time they say they’ll move a player up when he’s ready, not just when there’s a need for his given position. However, the reality for the Pirates seems to be that unless you’re a former first round pick, the guy ahead of you has to go on the 60-day DL, just to get an opportunity. What I mean is, I think the need for the Pirates will trump any other factor when it comes to moving other players up.

          I think the first call ups with he pitchers; Cole and Irwin.

          I don’t think the catching position is as deep at the upper levels, so the majority of the catching seems to be banked two or three years down the line….unless in some parallel universe they actually give Tony Sanchez an opportunity. Overall though, the catching position is so valuable, you always take them, like guys that have the upside to be two-way short stops, or center fielders.

          You never know with injuries…too much chance involved.

          I think the Pirates could win 85. It would be nice to see Cole come in, take over that #5 spot, and pitch like a 3. That would go a long way. It would be nice to see Gomez release and Morris take his place too. If the pirates are contenders around the trade deadline, I can easily see them trading for a solid mid/late innings reliever. Nothing special, but something to strengthen it up.

          • leadoff

            IMO, McPherson will be here before Cole.
            Sanchez is ready, catching is not a problem at this point. May also looks like he could handle a major league staff if he needs to.

            • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

              Idk about your assessment of McPherson making it before Cole. I think it just depends. I would wager that the F.O. has a date in mind for when they want to have Cole up and ready. I think McPherson needs some seasoning in AAA and needs to prove he can stay healthy. However, if there’s a need for an SP, and it’s before that time to bring Cole up, then I think we’ll see McPherson in Pittsburgh.

      • John

        Probably :)

    • https://profiles.google.com/107967481627218633722 Ryan Quinn

      I think its because you miss the Hammer

  • https://profiles.google.com/107967481627218633722 Ryan Quinn

    You may have also forgotten that Pedro showed .500+ SLG potential last year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/faye.zbuksukcz Faye Zbuksukcz
    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young


      Resop Fable?


  • http://wkkortas.wordpress.com wkkortas

    As this team is constituted now, your left-handed bat on the bench is….

  • John

    Seriously… we went into spring with the possibilities of the 4th and 5th guys in the rotation being Liriano, Karstens, Locke, McPherson, and the wild card being Cole.

    What we came out with was Jonathan Sanchez and Jeff Locke. That is why I’m underwhelmed.

    Also, I just don’t understand on what planet John McDonald is a better option than Jordy Mercer… ugh.

    • http://wkkortas.wordpress.com wkkortas

      That would be Planet Veteranosity, home of Uncle Clint’s House of Grit and One-Run Strategies.

    • maguro

      Liriano and Karstens got hurt, Cole starting the season in Pittsburgh was never an option and Locke is in the rotation. So what this boils down to is Sanchez instead of McPherson. Which seems perfectly defensible, given McPherson’s lack of AAA seasoning and his shaky performances this spring.

      McPherson will get his chances this year, as long as he stays healthy. I don’t have an issue with him starting the season in Indy.

  • https://profiles.google.com/109574077056716189484 Joel Davis

    It makes no sense to keep Jeanmar Gomez over Bryan Morris. This is the Pirates trying to keep as many players as possible that they deem acceptable over putting the best players on the field. I would assume Gomez would clear waiver anyhow, so the whole concern is unfounded, but time and again they error on the side of keeping as many people as humanly possible. (See Inge “DL” stint)

    • https://profiles.google.com/116255365477483987850 jalcorn

      Preach on brother, keeping Gomez means someone else has to go to keep Inge.

      Gomez is terrible, he has been terrible in MLB, and he was terrible in the minors. Please Tim, give me some reason for this apparent idiocy.

    • https://profiles.google.com/110662152366084767261 Laura Day

      They decided to go with the younger pitcher. I’m fine with that.

      • https://profiles.google.com/109574077056716189484 Joel Davis

        I assume that is a joke…

      • https://profiles.google.com/116255365477483987850 jalcorn

        Morris is young too, and just because Gomez is young, that is no reason to keep him. We have 50 or 60 young pitchers in the system.

        Hmm, he doesn’t strike guys out, he doesn’t prevent walks, he doesn’t induce a ton of ground balls, and he doesn’t prevent HR, and he doesn’t throw hard. What did I miss?

        • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

          Can’t believe JeanMarie made the roster.

          Hopefully, he’ll be gone as soon as Karstys comes back.

          • http://twitter.com/scottklima scottklima

            Morris will be up in May. I don’t know the details, but as long as he stays in the minors for the first month or so, he will get an extra year of team control.

            Makes sense in the short term. Hopefully Karstens is back quickly and replaces Gomez on the roster.

  • leadoff

    I would have kept Gomez in the pen as the Pirates did for now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

      I USED to like you, Leadoff.


  • La Pirate

    This was predictable. Presley should have made the team but his remaining option doomed him. I hope there is a short leash on Tabata and Snyder.
    As to Gomez he made it because of the Karsten injury. He is on a short leash for sure. As to Inge I think the front office wanted to give him some time to see if he can regain health. I dont think he is better than Harrison. If Harrison does well he stays. IT makes sense for Mercer to play everyday in AAA at short rather than rot on the bench behind Barmes. McDonald fits that role well. Locke pitched decent, McPherson didnt so this is fine. Sanchez did ok and probably would have beaten out Gomez if Karsten was ready. Lets hope Cole will do great at AAA and get his callup soon. This team is stronger than last year heading north but the division is stronger with the Astros gone and other teams better. We have some depth which is a plus. I was still hoping for a trade but we will see. The key is how Burnett, Wandy and JMac do in the rotation. IF they start out well and the bats show some life contrary to last spring the Pirates will be just fine. There are a lot of ifs though.

    • leadoff

      I totally agree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

      Still, you would have to say this is better than the 2012 vintage that went north, no? With Hague, Yamaico Navarro, Casey McGehee and Nate McLouth coming off the bench? Improvements at C and LF, possibly RF. The rotation is improved — Wandy-Sanchez is better than Bedard-Correia.

      I think you can make an argument that the bullpen is weaker, but then you look at the reinforcements coming in the next month or so – Karstens, Liriano, Morton – and Morris, McPherson and Cole stashed at AAA.

      The changes have been gradual, and most of them are on the margins, but this really is a significant improvement #1-25 (and beyond) over the team that won 79 games last year.

      • leadoff

        For the most part I agree, but I do not think the bench they have now is a better hitting bench than the one they started last year with.

  • dr dng


    I guess my first post was ok.

    1) Anyone want to predict number of pitching wins for:

    a) Burdett?

    b) Mc Donald?

    2) What player is least likely to be with the Pirates

    a) June 2

    b) August 2

    3) (Here is a good one) What if the Pirates start out 10-20

    a) Will there be a management change?

    b) Will there be a move to go “young”?

    • leadoff

      Burnett, no prediction
      McDonald, no prediction
      Least likely to be with Pirates, no prediction
      Pirates start 10-20, prediction, there won’t be any management changes and there will not be any moves to go young, they are already very young in most of their key positions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

      1a) Did we trade for Lew Burdett(e)’s kid?


      2) Hopefully Jean Marie.

      3) Doesn’t matter to me…I will have jumped off the nearest bridge.


      • leadoff

        Get hold of yourself man, Marie has you all shook up, stay off the bridge, you have my word, Marie will be all right. The only people that could make me jump off the bridge is the entire Pittsburgh media, but I take the easy route and just throw up.

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