The Pittsburgh Pirates made their second round of Spring Training cuts on Monday morning, trimming the roster by eight players. Austin Meadows, Clay Holmes and Jack Leathersich were all optioned to Indianapolis. Cole Tucker, Bryan Reynolds, Jason Martin, Damien Magnifico and Christian Kelley were all reassigned to minor league camp. There are now 53 players on the Major League Spring Training roster.
With minor league Spring Training games scheduled to begin tomorrow, we expected some cuts today. Meadows, Tucker, Holmes and Reynolds are the top prospects in this group and none of them were competing for an Opening Day spot, so their return to Pirate City today will give them a chance to get regular at-bats and get ready for the season. The only surprise at this point might be Leathersich due to his big league experience and not many lefty options being around, but he was unlikely to make the Opening Day roster even before the Pirates signed southpaw reliever Kevin Siegrist two weeks ago.
UPDATE 10:08 AM: Analysis from Tim Williams…
I echo John’s thoughts that there aren’t many surprises here. Meadows and Holmes were expected to start off in Indianapolis. Tucker, Reynolds, Martin, and Kelley will likely go to Altoona. Magnifico could serve as a depth option for either team.
The one surprise here is Leathersich. It’s not so much a surprise as it’s a little bit of clarity on the battle for the bullpen. I’ve currently got four spots open, with Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault expected to take two of those spots. That leaves Kyle Crick, A.J. Schugel, Jordan Milbrath, Josh Smoker, Edgar Santana, Dovydas Neverauskas, and Kevin Siegrist as the most likely candidates for the spot.
I’m guessing the Pirates will use one spot on a left-hander, since Brault will be serving more of a long-relief role, rather than a single inning guy. With Leathersich gone, that puts the battle for one of those spots down to Siegrist or Smoker, with Smoker having an option remaining. The Pirates could also go with two right-handers for the final two spots, but I think it’s more likely that Siegrist or Smoker will get one of the spots, with my bet being Siegrist.