Pirates Make 40-Man Moves, Rule 5 Protection for 4 Players

11-19-21 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

We’ve worried, we’ve arranged, we’ve even argued, and today the Pirates did what they did. We now move on to the next stage, dissecting and evaluating who they cut loose, who they protected and of particular interest, who they didn’t protect or cut. One step closer to understanding the roster they plan to attack 2022 with.

I say we dive right in, after all it’s not like you haven’t already read through enough of my opinion on what would/should happen.

The Cuts

Taylor Davis (C, 3B) – This actually happened awhile ago, but he was brought in on an emergency basis to back up Michael Perez, and was always going to be one of the cuts. No shock here.

Phillip Evans (IF/OF/Utl) – Phil started 2021 having some fans push him forward as a Rookie of the Year candidate, and he filled in admirably right after the Ke’Bryan Hayes injury. Sadly oil often finds it’s level and Evans just wasn’t good enough. Let’s be completely clear here too, the threshold for “good enough” on this team isn’t nearly as high as most.

Tanner Anderson (SP/RP) – A late season waiver claim, Tanner was given very little opportunity and it would appear the team saw enough. Again, not a surprise here.

Michael Perez (C) – A backup catcher gets a lot of leeway, he’s rarely expected to be a world beater, but Michael was arguably the worst hitter on a team full of them.

The Additions

Travis Swaggerty (OF) – There was some late thoughts by MLB Pipeline that Travis might not get protected, but in the end the Pirates felt he was close enough to the show, and likely sure enough about the glove to feel he’d be too high a risk to expose.

Liover Peguero (SS) – The SS will most likely start the season in Altoona next year and an MLB top 100 prospect is hard to slide through unprotected. It was a bit of a thought though I’m sure as he’s probably going to spend 2 full seasons on the 40-man or damn near without touching an MLB playing surface.

Canaan Smith-Njigba (OF) – He’s done nothing but impress when healthy, and looks poised to break through in 2022, he’ll start in AAA but probably isn’t far behind Swaggerty in the pecking order, if he is at all.

Jack Suwinski (OF) – This one shocked me a little. If they were going to protect 3 I thought sure the third would be Cal Mitchell. I’m a little taken aback because he was one of the few who didn’t get the bump to AAA late in the season.

The Things to Think About

So, here is a short list of the guys I at least thought warranted consideration. Of these I’m only really concerned about someone taking a run at Bolton, Thomas or Martin but all three have issues. Bolton with health, Thomas with performance and Martin with K’s.
Cody Bolton
Omar Cruz
Yerry De Los Santos
Cal Mitchell
Tahnaj Thomas
Mason Martin
Eddy Yean

Here is the official release.

Next up is the non-tender deadline, and the fact Chad Kuhl and Steven Brault survived today tells me they’ll both be tendered. If you felt any others like Moran or Stratton were borderline, squash that too.

This is less than Craig or I thought. But I started getting a feeling mid week.

The Rule 5 draft isn’t as scary as some make it out to be, but the more prospects the Pirates amass the more likely it is they’ll lose someone of real value. Forecasting a bit, 2024 looks juicy.

This puts the Pirates at 40 on the nose, clearly there will be more clutter cleared, but again, you can remove some of the guesswork now. All the tender candidates are likely safe into Spring now. If you want a 26-man related positive, they’ll likely be signing a new backup catcher.

More to come….

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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