First Pitch

First Pitch: Keeping James McDonald Around Would Be the Right Move

First Pitch: Keeping James McDonald Around Would Be the Right Move

The Pirates have a decision to make on James McDonald this week. - Photo by Mark Olson

James McDonald is set to return this week. There has already been a lot of discussion about whether McDonald should be on the 25-man roster. In yesterday's article about Gerrit Cole there were a lot of comments about how McDonald should be gone to create a spot for Cole. The Pirates could keep both, so that shouldn't be an issue.

A year ago today, McDonald had a 2.19 ERA in 90.1 innings with an 83:24 K/BB ratio. He had a horrible second half, and finished with a 4.21 ERA, which lined up exactly with his FIP and xFIP numbers. That was also the second straight year he put up a 4.21 ERA in 171 innings. I'm not sure if McDonald will return to that ERA again this year, although that would be weird.

With the way the current rotation is set up, there would be no need for McDonald as a starter, especially since he has struggled this year in the role. The Pirates will have Jeff Locke, Francisco Liria...

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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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