Pirates Prospects Daily: Pirates Clear 40-Man Space, Lose Two On Waivers

The Pittsburgh Pirates had two players claimed off of waivers on Friday, losing Ali Sanchez and Miguel Yajure. It came as somewhat a shock, as we hadn’t even gotten word that the pair was placed on waivers, not getting official word until they were actually claimed.

Sanchez was a waiver claim of his own, and until Endy Rodriguez was added, was the only catcher on the 40-man roster. Yajure was a part of the Jameson Taillon trade that also landed them Roansy Contreras.

Ethan Hullihen brought up the point on Twitter that Wednesday, when the pair would have had to been posted, was the last day a team could put a player on waivers in order for free up space before next week’s Rule 5 draft.

To be able to select a player in the Rule 5, you need to have a 40-man roster spot open. The Pirates now have two open spots on the 40-man, which keeps the door open for them to select someone in the draft.

Who to select would be the question, as drafting for need isn’t something that you really want to do in the Rule 5. Things that stick out right now are catcher, left-handed pitching and maybe even help in the outfield of the right-handed variety. John Dreker covered a few potential options for the Pirates on Thursday.

With the Pirates having Rodriguez and eventually Henry Davis close to Pittsburgh, adding another catcher without the flexibility of being optioned doesn’t seem ideal. Taking a lefty reliever would currently give the Pirates two lefty relievers on the 40-man roster.

While the track record of any player sticking isn’t great, a right-handed outfielder does make sense as someone who would be easy to hide on the bench for the entire season. The Pirates do have Ryan Villade on the 40-man, picked up off of waivers from the Colorado Rockies. 

Baseball America has done a great job of updating potential players teams could be looking to pick up, and that can be seen here.

The Pirates may not select anyone next week. It’s better to have that flexibility to be able to do so, than to not have the option.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**The Pirates lost three players on waivers on Friday. Lewin Diaz was lost to the Orioles, after being DFAd for Carlos Santana. The Pirates also lost Miguel Yajure and Ali Sanchez on waivers, clearing spaces for potential Rule 5 picks. I think the biggest loss here is Diaz. While not a huge loss — he’s a 26-year-old with no guarantee that he’ll find MLB success — I do think that Diaz had some upside.

I would imagine the 40-man roster to look different a week from today, potentially with a Rule 5 pick. Beyond that, it might have been difficult to carry Diaz on the 40-man the whole offseason with other expected moves. Right now, I would expect the Pirates to be busy.

**Jeff Reed wrote about how it’s a refreshing change of pace lately with the Pirates. Isolated, the additions of Santana and Ji-Man Choi don’t do a lot, but the early moves do indicate a shift in the approach from the Pirates. It seems like there’s more focus on the majors this offseason than in previous offseasons.

**The Pirates signed minor league shortstop Shawn Ross.

**Diego Castillo keeps hitting in winter ball, and Fabricio Macias joined in on the action. John Dreker has the latest Pirates winter league update.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about the 2023 ZiPS projections, which love Endy Rodriguez.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

This week’s discussion topic from Jeff Reed looks at the change of pace in Pittsburgh this offseason. 

Pirates Discussion: A Refreshing Change of Pace

John Dreker will have the latest Pirates Winter Report at noon on Saturday.

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Maybe the 2 spots were cleared for the return from the Reynolds trade…

What a joke…

Wilbur Miller

Here’s a thought: Does it seem like there’s a heightened level of interest lately? And, no, not the usual, pathetic, only-Pirate-fans interest in R5.
I didn’t even like the Santana signing (Gibson would be another matter), but it seems like they’re starting to act almost like a MLB franchise for the first time since 2015.

Tim Williams

Yes. In many ways.


Agree…..and then the momentum crashes to a halt with the Reynolds trade request. Back to the laughing stock, doormat of MLB!! Only way to solve it is to pay BRey, sign him, and all could be forgotten and move forward. Doubt we’ll see that though.


Good luck with the SP market after the DeGrom signing…will it be a true test of FO’s desire to better team…


In my opinion, no loss in Yajure and Sanchez signing elsewhere – especially Yajure who is clearly not major league quality. He may not even be AAA quality. Now, losing Diaz is another matter. Considering some of the poor pitchers that the Pirates continue to keep on the 40 man roster – Wilson is Exhibit A – exposing a guy with youth and potential was a dumb decision. It is not likely Diaz will ever amount to much, but he at least provided some potential as a power hitter and first baseman. I would have DFA’d Choi and kept Diaz on the 40 man. Choi is a proven sub par major leaguer made obsolete with Santana signing. Pirates FO is not major league quality.


just so weird to free up 2 spots.

Wilbur Miller

They’re gonna have to do a lot of weeding with this roster. They have to sign at least one C to a ML deal, they may or may not be on track to sign Gibson, and they claim to want to sign an OF, an IF and however many RPs. This is probably just step one.


Yes but as i think you pointed out elsewhere, DFAs that occur for MLB signings can occur when those signings happen. Clearing up these two specific spots at this specific time must purely be about the rule 5. That’s what’s bizarre. To clear 2 spots instead of 1. It’s weird to want room for 2 picks.

Wilbur Miller

Maybe they’re gonna make a pick and trade him. Pretty sure you need an open spot to do that.


I think you’re reading far too much into this Jay. The winter meetings start Sunday. BC just wants the roster spots to make a trade……ie. a couple of Milb’s for a legit MLB player. Or for a FA signing. I don’t see him adding anyone in Rule 5 draft, or at least I hope not. Year 4 ….those days should be behind us to clog up the 26-man with non-mlb caliber.

Last edited 1 month ago by 1979andCounting

No, you’re overthinking it. Teams never clear up room before making those types of moves. They drop guys in response to making additions. Not the other way around.


I was just reading MLBTR’s update on top prospects including several eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. I had not been aware of Andres Chaparro of the Yankees but he seems comparable to Nunez. I wonder if we might draft him as insurance against losing Nunez, though of course that would mean we’d need to keep him on the MLB roster. Or perhaps his presence in the draft simply decreases the risk of losing Nunez.


he’s my personal favorite. Steamer projections adore him to the tune of thinking he’s the Yankees’ third best hitter *right now*. Gotta think he could provide some RH thump to complement Choi.

Im under the impression/assumption that santana will play every day and that choi’s platoon partner is yet to be acquired.

hes everything that i can ask for from a hitting prospect. No K issues. stings the ball, walks a bit. i wish he had done that AA season at a younger age, but 23 is at least age appropriate.

Im under the impression that he can fake it in the field a bit better than Nunez but i could be wrong.

If they take a pick, i’d like it to be him, as some RH thump at 1b is still needed. otherwise, i dont really want them to blow a roster spot on a pick.


Do we know for sure that we only had those two off the roster? All we know that only those two were claimed. Right?

Wilbur Miller

Right. We may or may not see where a couple other guys were outrighted.


Texas Rangers actually trying to win and here are the Pirates fans talking about Rule 5 pickups…How about that…


That double was pretty amazing–great hustle!

Scam likely

The pirates have some roster work a head of them, need at least one 26 man roster catcher maybe 2, some viable left handed pitching, some right handed hitting outfield, and starting pitching depth. Thinking they will take the lefty from the Phillies, Miller might be his name in the rule 5, and sign a catcher at the winter meetings.


Jason Delay and Tyler Heineman did well for the Pirates the second half of 2022 and are what I refer to as Pitcher’s Catchers. IMO, the Pirates have a VG SP Rotation entering 2023 and those two Catchers will help our pitching staff a lot more than guys coming in cold who could possibly hit better.

Delay was DFA’d and decided to return to the Pirates. Heineman was just DFA’d 11/15 and elected FA on 11/18. He could be available on a minor league contract. These are good leaders for kids like Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis to work with in ST and then when they are promoted to the Pirates. Their knowledge of the current pitching staff will help us develop those two young Catchers.


Personally, I would not call our rotation ‘very good’ or even ‘good’. We have a bunch of #5 SPs, two promising but unproven SPs in Keller (was 2022 for real) and Contreras (can he add on to a promising 2022?).


It seems like the Pirates are constantly showing the huge difference between potential and reality, lol.

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