The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Saturday morning that left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano and outfielder Melky Cabrera will both be added to the 40-man roster and they will make the Opening Day roster.
The Pirates currently have a full 40-man roster, though that includes reliever Edgar Santana, who will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery. Placing him on the 60-day injured list will open one spot. They must make a decision on the other spot before adding both Liriano and Cabrera. That decision isn’t due today, but we could still hear it later today.
Cabrera was signed on a minor league deal just before Spring Training opened, but he was likely to make the 25-man roster due to his experience and success in the past. He at least needed to show that he could play up to previous standards and he has had a solid spring so far, posting a .310/.341/.381 slash line in 15 games. The 34-year-old Cabrera hit .280/.335/.420 in 78 games with the Cleveland Indians last year. Due to below average defense, he had a 0.0 WAR in 2018.
Liriano will be a lefty out of the bullpen this year. He didn’t have the best spring, but just like Cabrera, his success in the past (some of which came with the Pirates) gave him an advantage in his battle for a spot. He posted a 4.66 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP, with an 8:9 SO/BB ratio in 9.2 innings. The 35-year-old Liriano had a 4.58 ERA, a 110:73 SO/BB ratio and a 1.50 WHIP over 133.2 innings with the Detroit Tigers last year.
The Pirates still have 36 players on their active spring roster, so there are still more decisions to be made ahead of the season opener on Thursday.