The Pirates roster is starting to take shape, and very few question marks remain after a couple announcements following today’s win against the Rays. Pedro Ciriaco has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, meaning Rule 5 pickup Josh Rodriguez has earned a spot on the 25-man roster as a reserve infielder. Both players had pretty strong springs, making the choice a difficult one. Ciriaco hit .333/.326/.429 in 42 Grapefruit League at-bats, while Rodriguez hit .303/.410/.394 in 33 at-bats. The final decision likely came down to roster management and Rodriguez’s vastly superior minor league track record. As a Rule 5 pick, Rodriguez would likely be lost if he did not make the team, while Ciriaco had an option remaining. Rodriguez is also coming off a very nice season in the Cleveland Indians’ system, hitting .298/.379/.485 in 442 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A. Ciriaco, on the other hand, hit .265/.281/.387 in 502 plate appearances at Triple-A.
Neal Huntington also revealed today that catcher Chris Snyder is likely to begin the season on the disabled list. That means Jason Jaramillo, who has had a scorching spring (.429/.484/.714 in 28 at-bats), will make the team as the backup catcher. It also keeps a roster spot open for outfielder John Bowker. Bowker’s spot was previously being threatened by the possibility that the team could go with three catchers on the roster, due to minor injuries to Snyder and Ryan Doumit.
Early in spring training, I was prepared to be upset with several of the final roster decisions made by management. I expected Corey Wimberly to make the team over Rodriguez, sending the Rule 5 acquisition back to Cleveland. I assumed someone like Garrett Atkins would be on the bench while Steve Pearce went back to Triple-A yet again. Finally, I did not think the front office would manage to fit Bowker onto the roster, meaning he would have likely been lost on waivers. However, none of those things happened. Rodriguez, Pearce and Bowker all made the team. I have to say, I am much more satisfied with the look of the final roster than I expected to be.