BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Pirates made another round of cuts today from big league camp, with the roster starting to take shape a week before the 2018 season begins. Four players were sent down today, with the biggest name being Jordan Luplow.
The following players on the 40-man roster were optioned to Indianapolis:
The following non-roster invitees were reassigned to minor league camp:
None of these four players were expected to make the roster. Luplow had a shot at the start of camp, but his chances were gone when Corey Dickerson was acquired. The Pirates made it clear early that they didn’t want Luplow in a backup role in the majors, and would rather have him starting as a depth option in Triple-A, which signaled his future. He only had 182 plate appearances in Indianapolis last year, and only 87 in the majors, so more time wouldn’t hurt him.
Stallings will be the number three catcher, serving as the MLB backup if either Francisco Cervelli or Elias Diaz go down with an injury. Ryan Lavarnway is still in big league camp, and it’s unclear how he factors into the catching depth mix, or whether he and Stallings would split time in Triple-A.
Jones and Rodriguez weren’t expected to make the bullpen, and should both pitch as relievers out of Triple-A, with a chance to be depth options throughout the year. There are a lot of other depth options ahead of them, so they will need good results out of Indianapolis in order to move up on the depth charts.
There are now 33 players remaining in camp. There are only three non-roster players remaining, with Kevin Siegrist being the most likely to make the team. The final bench spot comes down to Jose Osuna or Bryce Brentz, with the chance that the Pirates could carry 13 pitchers to start the year. Assuming Siegrist gets one of the two projected open spots in a 12-man staff, that would open an extra spot for one of Kyle Crick, Jordan Milbrath, Josh Smoker, Edgar Santana, or Dovydas Neverauskas. A.J. Schugel is also still in camp, although he’s projected to start the season on the disabled list.