This week, as players are starting to get sent down to minor league camp, we’re breaking down how many options are remaining for members of the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Options, as previously discussed, allow teams to send players to and from the minor leagues without having to put them on waivers. It’s always useful to know who does and doesn’t have them.
While having only one option remaining is what is important for this season, I’ll be listing total options remaining, which will come into play in future seasons.
Greater than Five Years of Service
Once a player hits five years of service, they must consent to an assignment, meaning that even if they have options remaining, it’s not all that easy to option them. The team has more players in this bucket then they have in recent history:
Out of Options
These are the players who have used all of their options but have yet to hit five years of service, meaning they have to be subjected to waivers if the team wants to be able to assign them:
Chase De Jong
Duane Underwood Jr.
As you can see, the Pirates have built a fairly flexible roster, with most of the team still able to be sent to the minors. However, four of the names already presented are part of the bullpen, meaning that group could be harder to shuffle, at least if they keep the same players to start the season.
Here is everyone else, and even if they aren’t going to see the minors—looking at you Bryan Reynolds—that doesn’t mean the options still aren’t there:
Ji-hwan Bae – 3
David Bednar – 2
JT Brubaker – 2
Mike Burrows – 3
Rodolfo Castro – 1
Roansy Contreras – 1
Wil Crowe – 1
Oneil Cruz – 1
Yerry De Los Santos – 3
Ke’Bryan Hayes – 2
Jose Hernandez* – 3
Colin Holderman – 3
Connor Joe – 2
Mitch Keller – 1
Max Kranick – 1
Tucupita Marcano – 1
Mark Mathias – 1
Cal Mitchell – 2
Dauri Moreta – 2
Luis Ortiz – 3
Johan Oviedo – 1
Liover Peguero – 2
Yohan Ramirez – 1
Bryan Reynolds – 3
Endy Rodriguez – 3
Colin Selby – 3
Canaan Smith-Njigba – 2
Jack Suwinski – 2
Travis Swaggerty – 2
Jared Triolo – 3
Ryan Vilade – 2
For eagle-eyed readers, you may be thinking “but Oneil Cruz has used three options?”. That’s true, but Cruz used his third option last season before accruing five full professional seasons, meaning he qualifies for a fourth option. Hopefully it’s not needed, but it is available in case of emergency.
He is the only player on the roster who qualified; however, Miguel Yajure and Nick Mears would have also, but they obviously are no longer on the team.
Finally, I decided to provide the status for every player not on the 40-man roster who has prior Major League service. Therefore, if at any point these players are selected during the season, you can be aware if they can be optioned or not:
Cam Alldred – 3
Miguel Andújar – 0
Blake Cederlind – 2
Tyler Chatwood – 5+ YOS
Jason Delay – 2
Kent Emanuel – 0
Tyler Heineman – 2
Wei-Chieh Huang – 2
Domingo Leyba – 0
Drew Maggi – 3
Juan Minaya – 0
Chris Owings – 5+ YOS
Josh Palacios – 1
Angel Perdomo – 0
Kevin Plawecki – 5+ YOS
Caleb Smith – 5+ YOS
Daniel Zamora – 0
Rob Zastryzny – 0
Pirates Payroll Updates
—It was recently reported by the Associated Press—and subsequently confirmed by the team—that Oneil Cruz’s contract was renewed for 2023 as opposed to being agreed upon.
For the uninitiated, that means that the Pirates offered Cruz—and every other pre-arbitration player—a salary for 2023. While every other player said “okay, I’ll take that”, Cruz did not. Because he didn’t agree, the Pirates chose to renew him at the league minimum—$720,000—for 2023, very likely a penalty of sorts. We just don’t know how much of one without knowing what he was offered.
For payroll purposes, that decreases my estimate by $5,000. While that’s not important, I wanted to explain the difference and highlight what, in my opinion, is a bad look and simply unnecessary.
Last season, Cruz made $705,000, which was $5,000 over the minimum, presumably because of his two days of service time from 2021. Even though it’s a $15,000 raise in real terms, it’s effectively a pay decrease, as he would have made over the minimum had he agreed to the terms.
While it’s true that every team “punishes” a player for not accepting their terms, it doesn’t seem everyone does it the same. As the AP points out, 15 pre-arbitration players were renewed for 2023 league-wide, and five of them were for the minimum. That means the ten others will make more, ranging from $25,660 to $1,300 over the minimum.
Sure, maybe he was offered $725,000 and the penalty was a blanket $5,000, and I know this is all about precedent and formulas for the team; however, does it have to be?
—As of Wednesday, there were no other updates, but I apologize if I missed something since then.
—For 2023, the payroll estimate stands at $73,738,871 for the Labor Relations Department, while it’s $90,155,538 for CBT purposes.
A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.
Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.
When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.
I read it reported that he couldn’t come to terms with his Winter League team either. I haven’t verified that but if true, perhaps it’s his approach that’s at fault.
I believe John was the one that said that.
This Cruz fiasco is the kinda crap that serves no purpose other than to piss off players and fans. This organization is tone deaf from a PR perspective.
They bring back Cutch. Then they bring back Batman and Martin for OD 1st pitch. Two really awesome PR moves. But then they turn around and offset the goodwill from these moves by being childish with Cruz. It’s just inexplicably stupid, IMO.
My guess is that Cruz and his agent decided to send a message to the Pirates – even in something as insignificant as this.
In the past, Pirates were for sure one of the teams that didn’t do big raises over the yearly “suggested minimums”. But if I recall from the post-lockout changes, that these are expected rates as opposed to suggested minimums. My guess is if you look out over the league, you’ll find that most teams are not giving more than the yearly rates. As much as I think the Pirates could do more in many, many cases. I don’t think this is something to get pissed off over. Cruz hasn’t done anything to deserve more. He’s still a young player that needs to prove his worth. Extend Keller, Extend Reynolds at fair rate. Know the market before you get stuck with Joe & Vasquez.
“Hasn’t done anything ” how bout was 2nd in HR’S AND Rbi’s in half a season.
Another gripes i have is all the “Cruz is lazy” talk. Nobody on the Pirates run harder hits harder and throws harder than Cruz. Because of his size and making everything he does look easy, does not equate to being lazy.
Not making a comparison but people said Clemente was lazy,
See I have the opposite read. His immense natural talent covers for the effort he gives. Ain’t nothing about effort behind flinging the ball 100mph from SS or running a 99th percentile sprint speed, that’s all god’s gift to him.
I’m usually the player guy but the fact that they did do all those things coupled with Cruz’s own personal history has me in wait and see mode on this one.
Be specific. What personal history has anything to do with how much money he earns or thinks he should earn. There is Nothing in his past that makes him more likely to be the one being a jerk here.
The innuendo that Cruz is somehow a troublemaker or not a hard worker or whatever it is you’re insinuating has no basis in any known fact. Being in a car accident where three people tragically died does not reflect on any of these issues. And the facts of that case are far from conclusive. From what we know it was a tragedy and could have happened to anyone. The motorcycle had no lights at all. And three people on it.
Show your evidence that he has “personal history” that would influence how his prearb salary was decided. It’s ridiculous.
jesus christ take off your tinfoil hat and read the reply below.
Nah clearly we are just all out here making things up for the fun of it, not like we religiously comb through this site and other outlets for every piece of info possible
In fairness, one of the staff here noted in a comment that Cruz had some issues in not agreeing to $ with his Winter League team and also about some issues in putting up the work. I found the comment interesting and am hoping for a more detailed article citing what he knows.
Precisely what I was referencing.
Pirates gonna Pirate
According to Stumpf, Shelton more or less said Suwinski’s spot was never in jeopardy.
Not surprised, but in my opinion, Smith-Njigba and Swaggerty have looked much better this spring. They have earned a chance if they continue to hit like they have. Smith-Njigba has really impressed me. I was never real high on him, but this year his ABs have really looked like he belongs. Even his outs are hit hard, and look like great At Bats.
Suwinski on the other hand is striking out at a 47% clip.
Today was a bad day for Connor Joe and he didn’t even play.
Great work as always, Ethan.
Angel Perdomo – 0
That probably hurts his chances of making the team. They can send him to the minors now, but if they keep him up and he throws the ball all over the place, they can’t option him. He could clear waivers, but he’s been outrighted before so he could elect free agency. Might make more sense to give him some time in AAA and see whether he’s finding the plate. Gonna be lots of BP changes all year anyway.
I suppose the same goes for Zamora and Zstrznzznysztzzy, but Perdomo seems like he has a bit more long-term potential.
Perdoma had another chance today, really labored with his command. Did help his own cause.
Being off and on every other outing really doesn’t work.
‘Hurts his chances of making the team’.
That’s a good thing, right?
I doubt it was ever very likely. They’re probably going to want a veteran to replace Garcia and if you’re gonna hold a lottery ticket, R5 guy makes more sense.
Hmmmm…I had the impression from your writeups that he was one of your favorites. 😎😎😎
Potential-wise, sure. But they’re gonna be, or should be, flipping through relievers all year, so I don’t have a problem with him showing in AAA that he can throw strikes.
I was joshing. You seemed to be down on him in your writeups.
But, I do agree that we’ll be cycling thru receivers just like last year. Some things never change, do they?
6 foot 8 lefty , age 28, 9k’s in 6.2 ST innings, not ghastly 1.35 whip, .240 average, Garcia hurt, K/9 numbers you can dream on
He’s coming North with the team
Can you imagine us trying to option Cutch, Santana and Hill to Indy for more ‘seasoning’. 😂😂😂
(Unless it is for Oregano. ALWAYS need oregano for Pizza).
Like to see them option Bae for seasoning just for the head line..
I like Bae, but I do think he should go to Indy. He has not earned his way on the OD roster. I think there is a decent chance he will go to Indy to start the season. I could see them either going with Reynolds in CF, or Suwinski, and keeping 1 of Smith-Njigba or Swaggerty. If Swaggerty, he would start in CF. Then, they would keep Owings. Owings has not been bad this spring, and he can play in the outfield as well, including center.
I liked seeing Bae bunt his way on yesterday. I agree he is not a major league starter, but if he hits (and that is a big IF), he can help us as a utility guy. The next week is a pretty important time for him.
Good one! But I bet the fans will think something fishy about the move