The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated Michael Morse for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for pitcher A.J. Schugel. With Juan Nicasio lasting three innings yesterday and Francisco Liriano day-to-day with a hamstring injury, Schugel has been added to provide them with extra bullpen depth.

Morse started once in the first eight games of the season. He pinch-hit in five other games and went 0-for-8 at the plate. The move to add Schugel is likely a short-term move and the Pirates have Jason Rogers at Indianapolis, who can fill the same role that Morse was filling. Schugel has pitched once with Indianapolis, throwing a scoreless inning on Sunday. He needed just 12 pitches in that game, so he should be available for multiple innings tonight if Ryan Vogelsong runs into any trouble.

Also today, Pedro Florimon cleared waivers and has been assigned outright to Indianapolis. He has 72 hours to accept or refuse the assignment. Indianapolis is already stretched fairly thin for playing time due to all of the prospects at the level. If Jason Rogers does eventually replace Schugel and assumes Michael Morse’s role, that would open up a roster spot for Florimon. It wouldn’t however clear up the issue of having Gift Ngoepe, Alen Hanson, Max Moroff, Dan Gamache and Adam Frazier all playing at least one of the three positions Florimon plays. While the Pirates would like to retain him for depth, Florimon might decide that he has a better shot to get back to the majors elsewhere.

John Holdzkom is officially a free agent now after clearing release waivers. The Pirates released him two days ago, but other teams were still able to claim him while he was on release waivers.

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68 COMMENTS

  1. With Juan Nicasio lasting three innings yesterday and Francisco Liriano day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and Vogelsong pitching tonight,

  2. As for Florimon, I’m kind of surprised they assigned him. I guess you can’t have too many SS but I don’t want him taking away time from Hanson, Moroff, Frazier, and Ngoepe

  3. Finally! I was getting anxious with having an actual first baseman with actual 1B experience. Now I can relax and watch OFers, Cers, 3Bmen, and UTs man the position; )

  4. Will be interesting to see what Floriman decides to do – thought he looked better at the plate in ST – and the glove is great – not a big Mercer fan – not sure the team would not be better with Floriman at SS…

    • If you actually look at any offense metric you’ll quickly see why the team would be better with Mercer.

      There are light hitting player, bad hitting players, 3 feet of crap, and then Florimon.

  5. I expected Morse would be the first to go when Kang was able to return with Freese being the right side of the 1st base platoon.

  6. “…so he should be available for multiple innings tonight when Ryan Vogelsong runs into any trouble”

    Fixed your quote.

  7. Off topic, but does anyone know if Liriano will be available to pinch hit for Freese tonight? I understand that the Bucs devalued the three spot this year, but I’m am totally perplexed as to why Freese is still batting 3rd with 11ks and zero extra base hits through 30 PA. Anyone in the lineup would be a better fit. Any thoughts?

    • It is the due to the stubbornness of Clint Hurdle. When he buys into a concept, he won’t drop it when it is proven bad until at least a month goes by. Freese should bat sixth or seventh, with Polanco hitting second or third, depending on where you really want to hit Cutch. I would like to see Cutch hit third, due to all the opportunities J and Polance would be giving him. No one wanted Freese for more than a few reasons, so it is obvious he should not be hitting third for a playoff type team.

      • You’ve basically just successfully called him stubborn for….adapting his lineup to a theory that almost no one else wants to do because they are too stubborn to dare go against the wisdom of baseball past.

        Pros and cons to who hits 3rd exist in terms of Freese vs Polanco maybe, but suggesting Clint is stubborn and then saying we should hit Cutch 3rd is suggesting Clint is stubborn and should stop being forward thinking and go back to how stubborn baseball operates because history.

        • Another rant from Luke this time totally mischaracterizing and twisting what Hank said. Do you realize you used the word “stubborn” five times in two fairly incomprehensible sentences?

        • Luke- stay on topic. The question is why Freese is hitting third in the first place and why he still is. That is all. Please explain how Freese fits into the lineup optimization theory as a 3 hitter. Go.

          • You’re the guy who railed against Jaso hitting leadoff and how that was clearly dumb.

            So arguing with that is a waste of time, since you’ve made up your mind about the new lineup strategy.

            Freese at the 3 over Polanco is debatable, but beyond Polanco there is not 1 clear cut better option. J Hay swing all day and Mercer arent happening, and you want high OBP Cervelli 5th.

              • Well, its all SSS is a good reason. You dont expect Polanco to walk at a rate of 25% for long, so what he does once he starts swinging more is a question.

                Along with Freese not doing terrible at all. Getting on base enough to get it to the power bat behind him. While I think Polanco would be fine at the 3, until Freese is just not getting on at all settling Greg into the 6 at least helps with consistency.

                If Freese can keep getting on at a .360 clip, its good enough until a few weeks from now when Kang starts getting some time. Everyone who was quick to question if Polanco can even take the next step seems assured he can now do anything, and I think maybe we wait until more than 10 games into the year before moving him around in the order a ton.

                • I meant strictly debatable based on lineup optimization theory…..not everyone else. To me there is nothing i’ve read in that theory which suggests that it makes sense to have a player of Freese’s 2013-2015’s numbers hitting in that hole vs. the player polanco is.

  8. I actually like Morse a lot more than most, but I’m intrigued by Rogers too. The release of Holdzkom combined with the call-up of Schugel to a pen that already includes Lobstein, Luebke and Vogelsong makes me question why i thought the Pirates had so many intriguing bullpen arms after the core4 of MM, TWats, Feliz and Caminero. Hughes will certainly help tho when he returns.

    • Our pitching depth is just not where it should be…and why our offseason strategy was confusing…Morse never made any sense and Rogers trade makes less sense with Freese pickup.

      • It doesn’t make sense because they weren’t expecting to get freese especially in March. At the time back in December they wouldnt have been able to afford him so they got Rogers.

          • I don’t really agree but it seems the time for him hitting in the 3 hole needs to be drawing to a close.

                • Then where do you put him genius? He’s our 2nd best hitter and his OBP was one of the best too. Hes either 3rd or 4th. I’ll let you pick!

                  • I’ve discussed this before, but here is my lineup based mostly on the theory of optimization, but also using common sense based on how the team is built (left/right balance, making use of speed, etc). OBP is not important in the 3 slot as per optimization theory. 4th would be fine, but on this team he’s the 4th best player for OBP, now behind Polanco and Jaso.
                    1. Polanco (speed and OBP)
                    2. Cervelli (OBP)
                    3. Marte
                    4. Cutch (best hitter w/ power)
                    5. Kang (2nd best hitter w/power)
                    6. Jaso (obp)
                    7. Harrison
                    8. Mercer
                    You could flip Marte and Kang, but I have Marte hitting 3rd because he doesn’t ground into many double plays, kang with no speed makes no sense hitting in front of Cutch. Cervelli has great bat control and is perfect to use with a running player in front of him, he isn’t afraid to hit deep in the account to let Polanco run or to use the hit and run. You could also move Jaso to 5 and have Kang hit 6th if you want to get more AB’s for Jaso and use that to drive in runs or set the table even more for Kang.

          • Mercer never could carry Freese’s talent nor will he ever. Too bad Freese cannot play SS and put Mercer out at the curb tonight.

          • The reason he was still out there is that he wanted 30M/3 years. If he was willing to take 3M/1year from the get go he would have been snatched up much earlier.

    • Well right now its purely about a guy who can give you multiple innings, as opposed to the best arm for 1 inning.

      Id argue they would go with Haley or Zarate if it was just needing any arm, but they need to have the option to possibly eat innings along with Caminero if Vogelsong is….what we all assume.

  9. I envision Jason Rogers frantically making anonymous phone calls to all teams ensuring they are aware of the superior talents of Morse off the bench.

    • Ain’t that the truth!

      Can’t believe the Pirates didn’t find a single taker in the market.

      Someone will definitely snag him with the Pirates paying all but the minor league minimum.

      • Is that how it works? I thought any takers would have to take his entire salary, a la Tabata. If so I would look at this as a calculated risk that he will clear waivers.

        • I meant takers in a trade…figured the Pirates would’ve agreed to eat some salary instead of nearly all of it.

          My guess is he’ll easily clear and become a FA…then the Pirates will be responsible for all but the prorated ML minimum when he signs.

          • 34 year old first baseman with no power and hits right handed – not worth more than a gross of baseballs – add a contract that made zero sense. Morse, Sean Hurdle and James Looney are examples of what is wrong with baseball – replacement level players who make way too much money

        • He’s been DFA’d, which just clears his spot on the 40 man. He has to be traded, outrighted (which he can refuse), or released in 10 days. To be outrighted or released he has to clear waivers.

          If a team claims him off waivers, they assume the balance of his contract. If he clears release waivers, the Pirates owe him the balance of his contract and he can sign with another team; the amount the other team pays him (typically MLB minimum) is deducted from what the Pirates have to pay him.

        • I’m not sure about the whole Morse salary thing…somebody may know better…but I’ve looked and really can’t find anything definitive.
          My understanding is that the Pirates sent the Dodgers money, the Dodgers sent the Pirates money, but when it happened and how much is was is unclear.

          My understanding is that the Pirates are on the hook for $4M this year.

          If you look at the BBR site for Tabata, the Pirates are covering his $4.75M this year.

          • The way i finally understood it was we basically pay the rate we were for Tabata, LAD is paying the rate it was for Morse.

            We just swapped the players, so its paying that 4-5 million for Morse and not Tabata. While LAD pays whatever it was to Morse for Tabata’s play.

            Sucky on all ends.

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