The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a series of roster moves following the trade deadline action. They have placed A.J. Burnett on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation and recalled left-hander Bobby LaFromboise. They also designated Deolis Guerra for assignment to make room on the active roster for Joakim Soria.
It’s now clear why the Pirates acquired J.A. Happ. Burnett has been struggling lately, and his velocity has been down. No word at the moment how long he will be out, but Happ provides an immediate replacement. As I wrote in that article, I like the long-term upside of Adrian Sampson, but in the short-term he was struggling with his command, and wasn’t an immediate option. Happ provides a better option, especially if he pitches closer to his xFIP.
LaFromboise looks to be a short-term move until Happ arrives. Ryan Palencer wrote about the lefty last weekend. Guerra was expected to be sent out after the addition of Joakim Soria. That opens a spot on the 40-man roster, although that spot will be filled when the Pirates announce the Michael Morse addition, which hasn’t happened yet for some reason.
The big news here is that Burnett is hurt. The Pirates could be fine down the stretch without Burnett in the rotation, and they’ll most likely still make the playoffs. But they had better hope he can return to his pre-injured self by the time the post-season rolls around, as their rotation looks a lot better with him added to Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. That’s especially the case when you consider Cole will most likely be needed for the Wild Card game, meaning the Pirates would need a guy like Burnett if they advance to the division series.