Phil Irwin was a 21st round pick in 2009, and didn't require a huge bonus to sign. Photo by: David Hague

Phil Irwin to Be Optioned Back to Triple-A

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently called up Phil Irwin to provide the team with bullpen depth over the last two games, with the rest of the bullpen needing a break. Then, Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole threw back-to-back eight inning starts, giving the bullpen the break they needed.

Bill Brink reports that Irwin will be optioned back to Triple-A, and that a corresponding move will be announced later.

The Pirates are off tomorrow, so I’d expect the corresponding move to take place on Friday. I wouldn’t be surprised if the move is to add another hitter to the bench. Andrew Lambo would have been the top option, but he was placed on the DL today with a bruised thumb. The other options on the 40-man roster are Jaff Decker, Chris McGuiness, Brent Morel, and Gregory Polanco. I’d be shocked if Polanco was the choice. Considering the Pirates have seen struggles in right field, and have resorted to playing Josh Harrison there a few times in the last week, my money would be on Decker.

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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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  • piraddict

    Chris Dickerson’s stats are a lot better than Jaff’s. Why wouldn’t Dickerson be first in line for a call up (given Lambo is on the DL)?

    • Joe Sweetnich

      Not on the 40 man. That’s a big issue.

      • piraddict

        A quick scan of the 40 man shows me nine players I wouldn’t mind DFAing if Dickerson could come up and hit better than the Tabata / Snyder .

        • piraddict

          I suppose I should add that I am in the camp of if a position player can’t contribute an OPS of .650 or better they should be benched in favor of someone else (possible exception of a “defensive specialist”).

  • lonleylibertarian

    AWESOME! Great demonstration of this teams commitment to winning and being competitive – going up against last years NL Central Champ you add a chump to the roster…

    If the Cards sweep the Bucs I look for Polanco to develop a nagging injury that will put him on the DL for the rest of the year and allow that genius we have as a GM to work his Super Two magic again next year – I can hear it now “we would love to have Gregory on our opening day roster, but we think after his prolonged injury he need 200 or so at bats at AAA to get back into the swing of things”

    • Ron Loreski

      If Mike Trout was a Pirate he’d probably still be at AAA.

      • S Brooks

        Mike Trout made his debut in July. Polanco will be up in June.

        • lonleylibertarian

          At 19 years of age I believe – Polanco is 22 – turns 23 in September. He was/is the Pirates second best outfielder and they decided to play 30+ games without him – at least

          • zombie sluggo

            LL – You don’t really know how things work in major league baseball, do you?

            • lonleylibertarian

              Oh I think I do – you put your best 25 players on your major league roster and try and win as many games as you can because you HAVE NO FRIGGIN IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN TOMORROW LET ALONE SIX FRIGGIN YEARS FROM NOW!

              • zombie sluggo

                So if the Bucs brought him up and had to trade him in 4 years because he got too expensive, you be the first to complain.

              • Lukas Sutton

                That kinda proves you are a fan and have no realistic idea how teams operate. the “BEST 25″! argument makes no sense seeing as it is a business.

              • meatygettingsaucy

                I’d suggest to most everyone on here with any idea of how fiscally responsible, long term thinking teams conduct themselves avoid responding to lonley. The man is set in his ways – however wrong they may be – and all it is going to do is give him the attention he is craving.

                • lonleylibertarian

                  So what does “long thinking” mean – it is ok to make the playoffs once in 21 years as long as you are “fiscally responsible”?

                  I am sorry – I guess I am different – I want my Pirates to win the World Series every year – and I want the teams FO to act like it wants to win the World Series every year.

                  I guess I really am different from the rest/most of you…

                  When did the goal become accumulating “years of control”? Is there a trophy for that?

                  Unless the Pirates find a way to turn things around you will see why “playing to win” is fiscally responsible.

                  Those September sell outs will turn into 25,000 fans once schools start back up in the fall if the Pirates are
                  battling for 4th.

                  In fact Stub Hub has a lot of tickets available for the Card series – would that be the case if the Pirates were
                  in contention?

                  • SportOMania

                    Yes, I bought my tickets on Stub Hub cheaply last year.

              • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

                Lol! You are smarter than Every GM in MLB!!!

                • lonleylibertarian

                  Nope – in fact some GMs operate this way – Brian Cashman, Dave Dombrosky, Beane and Jocketty just to name a few…

                  • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

                    Please give specific examples of where those gm’s gave up a year of control for a top prospect.

                    • lonleylibertarian

                      Here is a list of last years Super Two’s SF and KC chose to put a better team on the field it would seem…
                      Cishek was a legitimate prospect and the Marlins went with him given their bullpen issues. They arguably now have a better pitching staff than the Bucs – but then they don’t have Volquez in their rotation.

                      The Marlins also put Jose Fernandez on their roster and it looks like he is going to be Super Two eligible – even though he never pitched above A ball and had a grand total of 138 innings at 20 years of age.

                      The Marlins by the way are very competitive this year – with Fernandez an early Cy Young leader.

                      Chris Nelson, 3B – Angels

                      Fernando Rodriguez, RHP – Athletics

                      Mike Minor, LHP – Braves

                      Juan Francisco, 1B – Brewers

                      Pedro Strop, RHP – Cubs

                      Mike Baxter, OF – Dodgers

                      Brandon Belt, 1B – Giants

                      Vinnie Pestano, RHP – Indians

                      Frank Herrmann, RHP – Indians

                      Steve Cishek, RHP – Marlins

                      Lucas Duda, OF – Mets

                      Ruben Tejada, INF – Mets

                      Tyson Ross, RHP – Padres

                      Jesus Guzman, 1B/OF – Padres

                      Ben Revere, OF – Phillies

                      Michael McKenry, C – Pirates

                      Jose Lobaton, C – Rays

                      Jake McGee, LHP – Rays

                      Juan Nicasio, RHP – Rockies

                      Eric Hosmer, 1B – Royals

                      Al Alburquerque, RHP – Tigers

                      Andy Dirks, OF – Tigers

                      Trevor Plouffe, 3B – Twins

                      Tyler Flowers, C – White Sox

                      Dayan Viciedo, OF – White Sox

                    • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

                      Ok, that’s great, but I didn’t mention Super Two. You named four GM’s, and I asked for specific examples of where they gave up an extra year of control for a top prospect. Why? Because you are obviously willing to give up the extra year to have the best 25 on your roster. Maybe the Yankees can think like you. They have plenty of money to throw away. They can afford to make more mistakes than the Pirates. You know darn well that the Pirates under the current system will not have the Yankees payroll. When our top players become free agents, they will be gone. Keeping them an extra year potentially improves the talent on the roster, and gives the organization additional time to procure young talent. With regard to Polanco, why not give him a few at bats in AAA? He will end up in the majors with far less experience in AA/AAA than Cutch. You brought up Trout coming up at at 19: different players with different backgrounds. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.

                    • lonleylibertarian

                      Belt and Hosner – Fernandez – all brought up before the cut off – so was Bryce Harper. Trout had fewer AAA at bats than Polanco already has. And if you really think Polanco today is not at least the THIRD best outfielder option in the Pirate system you are not paying attention.

                      The facts are the Pirates have the third lowest payroll in the majors – the lowest in the NL Central.

                      Nutting loves it – but it does not put a competitive product on the field – and over the long haul that will affect finances too – attendance – playoff games – all matter on the revenue side.

                      I am really curious to see the total gate for this three game series – if it was in St Louis it would be sold out…

                    • stickyweb

                      Hosmer looks legit. Belt could very well be a mistake by SF. BR has his serivce time at 2.128. I believe Super 2 is usually around 2.122. So maybe SF miscalculated or maybe they just thought 6 days of Belt’s production was worth $10 mil, either way doesn’t look great on their part.
                      So KC is your beacon of a well run franchise? So we should trade Polanco for Samardzija like they traded Myers for Shields? Tho TB also got Odorizzi so I guess the Bucs should throw in Kingham too.

      • lonleylibertarian

        He still has things to work on – don’t want to rush him

    • Josh Dz

      if you havent been watching the bats have not been the problem over the last week plus… the pitching hasnt stepped up until the last two days…. so how does Polanco help the Pitching staff….

      • lonleylibertarian

        Ok here is a list


        You manage the Pirates AND you MUST win at least 2 out of 3 from the Cards this weekend or you will be FIRED. Who is on the Pirate roster Monday morning will make zero difference in your life if you don’t win 2 of 3

        Who is YOUR starting right fielder?

        • zombie sluggo

          But that’s never the scenario.

    • Andrew

      Great commitment to winning, you are going on the road to play a team that fought you all last year and has won 4 of 6. So this
      management has a broken RF and the #3 prospect in baseball sitting in AAA, checking off all the boxes but you know Super Two. This team had the highest profit in baseball last year. You sent down your #2 hitting prospect after 75 ABs so an over the hill, Mark Ellis and his .186 average can play. Well Wong is hitting .333/.366/.462 in AAA. Gave up a clutch Freese for Bourjous and don’t even play him, keep running out I can’t track fly balls, Supreme Court Justice, John Jay.

      Arrogant organization, they think the NL Central crown is theirs by birth right. I think we know the real front office talent left and went to Houston.

  • Ron Loreski

    It very well could be Polanco. Mike Trout debuted in May when he made his debut because his outstanding play forced their hand. I think that’s what’s happening with Polanco.

    Come on if the Pirates are calling up another bat, other than Lambo, Polanco is the only bat at AAA that can make the team any better. Everyone else are just bench piece, no better than what we already have. The Pirates need to make a statement on Friday night against the Cardinals. The Pirates shouldn’t be using Jaff Decker or Chris Dickerson at a time like this. The time is now for Polanco. And honestly how can Huntington justify closing one of those 2 players over Polanco to the fans. It’s an absolute slap in the face.

    • battlingbucs

      Trout debuted on July 8th. I’m no time expert but I don’t think that’s in May.

      • Josh Dz

        You are correct that he debuted in July… the May time frame is that he did not stay up for all of 2011 when he made his debut, he went up and down, then he came up in May of 2012 and stayed up for good.

        • stickyweb

          What? The Angels sent the best player in baseball back to the minors at some point? Don’t they know the BEST 25 RULE? Unbelievable.

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