First Pitch: The Upcoming Roster Moves

Charlie Morton had a strong rehab start tonight for Indianapolis, and is on pace to return to the Pirates this weekend to make his first start on the 14th. The Pirates will have to make a move on the 25-man roster to make room for Morton.

After Morton returns, A.J. Burnett should be soon to follow. Overall the Pirates will have to remove two players from the 25-man roster, and one pitcher from the rotation. What they actually do is anyone’s guess, and could change in the coming weeks due to injuries, performance, or any other factors. Here is my guess for how the moves will go down.

MORTON’S RETURN

When Morton returns the Pirates will move to a five man rotation. They’ll have to remove someone from the 25-man roster. My guess is that the person removed will be a bench player.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I think Matt Hague should be the one to go down so that he can get regular playing time. However, it seems that the Pirates will be giving him time in the majors in a double platoon situation at first and third. With Hague getting this type of playing time, it would make sense to send one of Josh Harrison or Yamaico Navarro down instead. I would guess Navarro since Harrison can play the outfield.

BURNETT’S RETURN

First comes the rotation decision. That will likely be Kevin Correia moved to the bullpen, which was the plan prior to Burnett’s injury.

Next comes the roster decision, which will likely come from the bullpen. My guess would be Jared Hughes. Everyone else in the bullpen seems locked in, while Correia would likely take the long relief role, making Hughes expendable.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates were off today. They resume their schedule tomorrow, starting a ten game road trip.

**Prospect Watch: Gerrit Cole shines in his pro debut.

**A recap of Cole’s outing.

**Charlie Morton made a strong rehab start for Indianapolis. Here is Kristy Robinson’s recap of the start, and Nancy Zinni’s recap of the Indianapolis Indians game.

**The Pirates’ pitching has started the season off strong.

**Pirates Notebook: Two More Starters to Join Club by End of April.

**The weekly draft prospects rundown.

**The transcript from my weekly chat.

Analysis

  • I think it has to be Hague sent down. I just don’t see how the Pirates can carry 4 corner infielders. Plus if Alvarez is up here IMO he has to start to play against lefties, at least the non-Cy Young caliber ones). If he needs to sit against lefties I think Harrison or Navarro are both capable of making a start at 3rd. Plus its not as if we are sending this player away forever, if the Jones-McGehee platoon or Alvarez struggles we can recall Hague.

  • I think it has to be Hague sent down. I just don’t see how the Pirates can carry 4 corner infielders. Plus if Alvarez is up here IMO he has to start to play against lefties, at least the non-Cy Young caliber ones). If he needs to sit against lefties I think Harrison or Navarro are both capable of making a start at 3rd. Plus its not as if we are sending this player away forever, if the Jones-McGehee platoon or Alvarez struggles we can recall Hague.

  • I think they keep Navarro over Harrison. He can fake it in the OF about as well as Harrison, has more power and is a more legitimate backup SS.

  • I think they keep Navarro over Harrison. He can fake it in the OF about as well as Harrison, has more power and is a more legitimate backup SS.

  • Anyone with two legs can play right in Pittsburgh.

    • Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce are exhibits A and B of converted OF that did not work out just because they were mobile.

      It’s a different style of playing the OF than the IF (or C in Doumit’s case).

      Jason Kendall was one of the better pure athletes in the Dark Ages of Pirate Baseball and he was an unmitigated disaster in the OF.

  • Anyone with two legs can play right in Pittsburgh.

    • Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce are exhibits A and B of converted OF that did not work out just because they were mobile.

      It’s a different style of playing the OF than the IF (or C in Doumit’s case).

      Jason Kendall was one of the better pure athletes in the Dark Ages of Pirate Baseball and he was an unmitigated disaster in the OF.

  • I know this will never happen, but I like the 25-man roster without McClouth.  He isn’t good enough or versatile enough (IMO) to warrant a bench spot over any of Navarro, Harrison, or Hague…especially when better outfield help is one call away in the minors.  I hope he proves me wrong.

    • Kevin_Creagh
      April 10, 2012 8:58 am

      Marte needs time in AAA.  He needs to see the wily ML-veteran that is getting by on offspeed pitches now that his FB is reduced.  He needs to refine his plate approach in general.  As such, I’ve always said that he won’t be up until late June/mid July.

      McLouth can play all three OF spots, at least for 1 game or so.  If you lose him, Jones can’t play LF or CF in spacious PNC Park.

      I suppose you could call up Gorkys in an emergency, but I’m not a fan of him being any better (ever) than McLouth is right now.  So McLouth is a nice placeholder while Marte develops.

      None of Hague, Harrison, or Navarro can cover the OF; they’re strictly IF at this point.

      • pirateswillwinin2012
        April 10, 2012 10:08 am

         Harrison has enough speed to cover the OF

        • It’s not just pure speed.  It’s route running, playing angles, different throwing styles.  You can’t just jam a career IF into the OF and think it will work smoothly.

  • I know this will never happen, but I like the 25-man roster without McClouth.  He isn’t good enough or versatile enough (IMO) to warrant a bench spot over any of Navarro, Harrison, or Hague…especially when better outfield help is one call away in the minors.  I hope he proves me wrong.

    • Kevin_Creagh
      April 10, 2012 8:58 am

      Marte needs time in AAA.  He needs to see the wily ML-veteran that is getting by on offspeed pitches now that his FB is reduced.  He needs to refine his plate approach in general.  As such, I’ve always said that he won’t be up until late June/mid July.

      McLouth can play all three OF spots, at least for 1 game or so.  If you lose him, Jones can’t play LF or CF in spacious PNC Park.

      I suppose you could call up Gorkys in an emergency, but I’m not a fan of him being any better (ever) than McLouth is right now.  So McLouth is a nice placeholder while Marte develops.

      None of Hague, Harrison, or Navarro can cover the OF; they’re strictly IF at this point.

      • pirateswillwinin2012
        April 10, 2012 10:08 am

         Harrison has enough speed to cover the OF

        • It’s not just pure speed.  It’s route running, playing angles, different throwing styles.  You can’t just jam a career IF into the OF and think it will work smoothly.

  • With Bum jones creating massive a/c for the pirates they need the power bat of hague to get bummer jones overpaid butt out of the lineup. Mcgehee is needed also to go between 1b and 3b

    •  I’m not sure I entirely understand what you were talking about….I don’t think you like Jones though.  For that, I can’t blame you…I think we can do better.

  • With Bum jones creating massive a/c for the pirates they need the power bat of hague to get bummer jones overpaid butt out of the lineup. Mcgehee is needed also to go between 1b and 3b

    •  I’m not sure I entirely understand what you were talking about….I don’t think you like Jones though.  For that, I can’t blame you…I think we can do better.

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