Pirates Cut Three More From Major League Camp

The Pittsburgh Pirates have cut three more players from Major League camp, trimming the active Spring Training roster to 53 players. On Friday morning, they optioned pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas to Indianapolis and reassigned catcher Christian Kelley and outfielder Barrett Barnes to minor league camp. The Pirates sent down six players earlier in the week, including Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes and Kevin Newman.

Of the three players cut today, only Neverauskas had an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster and he would have needed some combination of injuries or trades for a spot to open up. He finished last year in Indianapolis, and along with Edgar Santana, he’s at the top of the Pirates prospect list for relief pitchers. Neverauskas allowed two runs over four innings in five appearances this spring. The 24-year-old from Lithuania had a 3.60 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 30 innings over 25 appearances with Indianapolis last season. Combining a high-90’s fastball with two versions of a slider that have different breaks and velocities, Neverauskas put up a strong first half at Altoona last year. That led to him to being placed on the 40-man roster this off-season, keeping him from reaching minor league free agency.

Barnes also had a breakout season in Altoona, though unlike Neverauskas, his was in the second half of the season. He was named our Player of the Month in both July and August, becoming the first player to win in back-to-back months. Barnes wasn’t on the 40-man roster, though the Pirates will have an interesting decision to make with him this season. He should either begin the year at Altoona and move up once a spot opens, or he could start in Indianapolis. One recent monkey wrench in his plans could be a hamstring injury he suffered Thursday night. Barnes ran out an infield single against the Red Sox during the second inning and grabbed the back on his right leg after crossing the bag. After a slight delay, he walked off the field with the trainer. The Pirates said that he is day-to-day, but they will likely be very cautious with Barnes, because he has a history of hamstring injuries.

Christian Kelley was a non-roster invite, brought along to help with the catching duties. He is scheduled to play with Bradenton this year. He emerged last year as a prospect, showing solid defense behind the plate and improvements at the plate, driving the ball better than he did in his rookie season with Morgantown in 2015. While Major League camp is a great experience for a young catcher, Kelley was seeing very limited playing time (six games and seven plate appearances), so he needs to get back to minor league camp to get some at-bats against live pitching.

  • I’m actually quite amazed at how silent things have been so far in camp……no signings, no real injuries, no trades of meaning, no information on position battles cause there aren’t many of consequence…..I wonder if this might be the most boring spring we’ve seen. Maybe when the WBC is over there will be more to talk about.

  • This team has money to burn. Worth spending 2.8M to see if Hughes can return from horrific to merely mediocre.

    • That comment was meaningless on so many levels it defies a response

      • A lame attempt at humor I guess.

        • LEO! Haven’t seen you since we had to educate you on Hanson’s 2013 trade value. Anyway, well I suppose someone like yourself thinks it a fine idea to pay Hughes 2.8M after being one of the worst relievers in MLB. But considering that is REAL money for a team such as the Pirates and guys like Santana and others profile as better options for league minimum it’s a bit difficult to understand NH’s and Clint’s affinity for their security blanket who had an awful 2016 and is getting lit up like a Christmas tree this Spring.

          • I have read somewhere that Hughes can be sent down to AAA one more time but aren’t we still on the hook for the $2.8? Or is there any way to escape that other than a trade? You are right that there has been a lot written that Hughes didn’t pitch well last year and has been bad this spring.

            • I’m not sure Michael. I thought I heard the could get rid of Hughes but still would be on the hook for 20% of his 2.8M. I’m not sure if that is accurate though. If it is, it would cost us about 600K and free up 2.2M. I have a feeling that 2.2M might be difference between having that capital to sign someone like Pagan or a competent 4th outfielder. Regardless, 2.2M can be spent on a lot better things than Hughes incompetence.

              • Somebody on here or PP staff knows that answer, if you’re right they will have an interesting call. They have taken some significant hits before when concluding a guy can’t help the team. If the “hit” on Hughes is only $600K he is absolutely at risk.

          • The day I need an assclown like you to educate me on any player in AA and his worth is the day I get buried. You are so wrong on so many counts that my opinion of Hughes and his contract isnt even worth explaining

            • My man LEO! There’s not much you can do about not being dumb but you can work on your manners. Tell me again how a top 50-75 prospect didn’t have any trade value! LMFAO

    • horrific? Aren’t we being a bit dramatic here?

      • all he needs is to find his sinker again and his value will be just fine.

        • The use of this particular metric admittedly somewhat bellies the value he’s provided at times, but I cannot find another reliever *in Major League history* who’s thrown at least 300 IP with a *peak* fWAR of 0.1 or less. Jared Hughes stands alone.

          Not only has he not been good overall, he’s never even been particularly good for a season. Ground balls and ERA, tho.

          He does one thing well, which also happens to be the explanation for no teams giving Pedro Alvarez a Major League contract.

          • Yeah- I can’t argue with that. He is here for one thing- to get groundballs with runners on base and less than 2 outs. Does anyone do that better? probably not. The thing is, his value is the same concept of a lefty specialist which we keep saying we don’t want. He’s just a “strang base runners/ground ball specialist” – personally I think that’s good to have, if he’s doing a significantly above average job at that metric. Problem is, I have no idea how to find “that metric”

      • 4.77 Xfip, 4% K-BB% ratio for a reliever you are paying 3M to is bad, real bad. Especially when it comprises almost 3% of your max payroll.

        • well if he’s one of 25 active players on your team, you’d actually expect each player not a rookie/2nd year guy to be over 4% of your payroll….

    • Hughes has averaged 1.0 WAR over the last 3 years and has been very consistent in that value. Each year was very similar. If 1.0 WAR is worth 6-7 mil than Hughes’ 2.825 mil is actually a nice bargain. Hughes would never be confused for being great but he does his job. Last year was a little off for him but no one was complaining during other seasons.

  • Poor Barrett Barnes

    • One of my favorite personal hot takes is how close the much-derided 2012 draft was to #actually being really ridiculously good.

      *If* they would’ve taken Dahl instead of Appel.

      *If* they could’ve signed Buehler and Hearn.

      *If* any of their handful of grade-40 type players (Barnes, Sampson, Moroff, Mathisen – still holding out a glimmer of hope for Wood) were able to continue progressing instead of stalling out for one reason or another.

      Even some fraction of those and all the sudden you go from getting almost nothing to one of the better drafts of the Huntington era.

      Poor Barrett Barnes, and poor Neal Huntington.

      • Would you rather Dahl over Meadows?

        • Nope!

          But it’s close enough for one to dream about grabbing Dahl for enough under slot to sign Buehler, which be far better. Probably the type of thing that works out better on paper than reality.

          • Gotcha! Appreciate the clarity. Meadows was the comp pick from Appel, right? By selecting Appel and him not signing, we got Meadows. So, obviously the draft you’re referencing should have an *

      • If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

      • Any particular reason that you feel this insatiable need to add asterisks around words?

        I’m going out on a limb to say that most posters here have solid reading comprehension abilities.

        • Asterisks are a common internet comment section denotation for italics, which are a way to convey emphasis on a certain word in a sentence. The asterisks, therefore, are included in order to get the reader to read the sentence with an inflection which enhances its meaning and more accurately reflects its tone.

          Writers do things like this frequently, not to condescend their readers, but because they are trying to communicate something very specific, and they want as much control as possible in doing so.

          • I get the reason why it’s done, but no one else does it with the frequency that he does.
            I’m fairly certain others want words emphasized , but I don’t see it often in their musings.

        • You don’t read the comments, do you? 😉

          • NMR, if you broke the record for asterisks on this site would you put an * next to it?

        • When you use an * on certain sites, it will put the word or phrase in italics. I got in that habit from commenting over at BD