It won’t be long before the Pirates get even more help coming off the IL. As we sit here today the Pirates don’t officially have a first baseman on the roster and we all know they’ll soon have two.
So who goes when they return?
The easiest decision is Cole Tucker, he has options and really hasn’t done much since his call up, not that they’ve given him much opportunity either, just a victim of being movable and he certainly hasn’t forced their hand.
Now here’s where it gets hairy. For the second of the two whichever that is, chances are they both come back at the exact same time, the options get more difficult.
I really think it comes down to Wilmer Difo, Ben Gamel or Ka’ai Tom and despite his rule 5 status and legitimately good OBA I’m leaning Tom. Out of all the “tryouts” in the outfield they’ve tried, and I don’t count the veteran Gamel as one, he’s arguably been the best of the bunch, but I’m not sure who else I could make an argument for.
One possibility could be to keep everyone but Tucker and simply option Evans to AAA, but the move would be about nothing more than not wanting to cut loose a player. Can you honestly say Tom has done well enough to have “beaten” Evans out of a roster spot?
I’d say for me I’m probably cutting Tom loose. But the choice was harder than I thought it’d be when the 5′ 9″ outfielder was picked up. There’s a chance he could clear waivers and the Indians wouldn’t take him back of course, but if that happens the club is really going to have to consider dropping Alford or Fowler in AAA to make room. At some point AAA needs to be more about development than a glorified storage unit for guys who didn’t cut the muster in MLB.
Once the Bucs sort through the return of those two, they must next figure out what to do with Trevor Cahill.
He’s apparently healthy, but where does he fit? Does he at all?
The only way he returns to the active roster in my mind is if the Pirates decide they’ve seen enough of Mitch Keller for now and want to send him down to work on things. That’s the list.
I don’t want to give up on any of the bullpen options, it’s been great having the extra lefty in the pen in the form of Chasen Shreve.
Seems to me it’s time to just let Cahill go, but I’ll admit it’s not as easy a decision with the injury to Yajure. The next guys pushing from AAA to get a shot in the rotation were he and Cody Ponce, Max Kranick just was promoted, Wil Crowe was just demoted. Chase De Jong just completed his second start as a Bucco and with him they have to just shoot their shot, he has no options, is 27 years old and would absolutely get snapped up on waivers.
Now, let’s be completely honest here too, the answer on Cahill could be as simple as someone in the bullpen developing a “blister” or “broken fingernail” but based on performance, it’s really hard to say anyone in the bullpen hasn’t more than held up their end of the bargain.
Before you start telling me to trade this guy or that guy to make room, let’s understand something. That’s not how this works.
Think of it this way, if guys like me know what’s coming back for the Pirates, they have smart people thinking through all the scenarios I just put out here. In one day they aren’t going to go out and deal someone that the league thought had a good chance to be on the wire if they were just patient. Maybe you get a cash deal like they did for Vargas, which is by the way exactly how the Pirates got him. There is a period of time from DFA to waiver in which deals like this happen but none of these guys were discussing are going to bring back a “piece” of anything.
They also aren’t going to rush an important deal because they need room for Phillip Evans, that just doesn’t make sense.
If anything, the very real looming moves of the deadline create some of the consternation about finding ways to keep depth now. If you burn through everyone then things get much more difficult later.
So that’s my list,
I’d bring back Evans and Moran for Tucker and Tom, and I’d just cut Cahill loose.
How about you? Get creative, tell me what option you like better?