At the start of the off-season, I decided to only do First Pitch on Monday-Thursday, unless there’s big news over the weekend. There just aren’t enough off-season topics to do one every night. So far the break on the weekends has been glorious. However, I felt the need for a short update tonight due to the amount of articles on the site today (not that any of them were big enough news for follow up on First Pitch), plus a site update. First, the update, then the links.
**I updated the Pittsburgh Pirates Future Payroll page today, removing everyone who is a free agent. Normally this page is good to project the future salaries of all of the players on the 40-man roster. However, in the early part of the off-season it is going to be the best place to keep a running track of how many players are currently on the 40-man roster. The 2014 40-man payroll page currently has non-tender projections of guys who are still on the roster, along with a listing of ten open spots on the 40-man. That is done for payroll projection purposes, making the 2014 page better for salary projections.
**There were two transactions today. First, Wandy Rodriguez exercised his player option. After that, the Pirates announced that Felix Pie had been outrighted off the 40-Man roster. Both moves were expected, and didn’t change the payroll projection above. The Rodriguez article includes a link to a quote from Neal Huntington saying he thinks Rodriguez will be ready next year. My feeling on Rodriguez is the same: the Pirates should treat any production from him as a bonus. They have Jeff Locke as a backup if Rodriguez can’t pitch, so they don’t need to make any backup plans over the off-season. Basically Rodriguez is a fifth starter, and isn’t being relied upon next year.
**The other big news today was that Jonathan Mayo said the Pirates have the top farm system. This is after they graduated Gerrit Cole, Jordy Mercer, Justin Wilson, and Bryan Morris. I don’t recall where Mayo had the Pirates coming into the season. MLB.com had a points system based on guys in the top 100, and the Pirates finished sixth there. That wasn’t really a system ranking. To give an idea of how much things have changed, the Pirates had four prospects in MLB.com’s top 100 heading into the year. They could have eight next year, according to Mayo, and that’s after graduating Gerrit Cole. It’s impressive to improve your overall system while subtracting a big time prospect like Cole.
**With the 2014 Prospect Guide being made available for pre-sales this week (order here if you haven’t already…also, why haven’t you ordered already?), I did a Prospect Rewind, looking back at How Exicardo Cayones Changed Our Prospect Rankings. And if you’re wondering why I decided to write a First Pitch on a Friday night, rather than take the night off, it’s because I’m just taking a break from working on the rankings and research for the upcoming guide. I’m hoping by the weekend the initial rankings will be completed, which means only 5,742,358 revisions remaining between now and mid-December.
**Here are the winter league reports from today: