3-22-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
Seems quick doesn’t it? Well, with only 18 games this Spring before heading North, the sense of urgency to get at bats for guys that really are locks and or have a good chance to make the roster is real.
I mean, there it is.
Travis Swaggerty is by far the weirdest one. As I wrote yesterday in the Five Pirates Thoughts at Five, the fact Swaggerty hasn’t played and nobody knows why is weird.
It’s such a Pirates thing. The most likely thing is Swaggerty hasn’t played much competitive baseball since 2019 and they wanted to work with him on the side. By not telling us, or reporters, you of course start wondering and worrying.
There was a bit of rumored frustration last season that Travis might have felt physically ready last season but the team didn’t agree. Being that our own Ethan Smith interviewed the young man and was given assurance that he is ready to rock, it has to be either that the Pirates don’t agree, or they think he needs some time yet before facing live pitching.
As for everyone else, Bae, Bolton, Burrows, Henry Davis, Florencio, Fraizer, Gonzales, Nicolas, Mlodzinski, Priester, Thomas and Triolo, well, they all come down to the obvious. They aren’t going to make this team this year, and the compacted schedule doesn’t allow for stealing much more time from those who will and could.
Let’s revisit the list of folks we started with at least when it comes to minor leaguers.
Out of those NRI players we still have Aldred, Bins, Taylor Davis, De Los Santos, Eickhoff, Madris, Martin, Mejia, Mitchell, Owen, Perez, Ritchie, Rodriguez, Stratton, Sulser, and Weiman.
Out of those, should they sign nobody or trade for anyone, one of Carter Bins, Taylor Davis, Jamie Ritchie, or Michael Perez will wind up being the backup Catcher. I know Endy is technically there, I just don’t see it yet for him especially not in a role that has him sitting around 70% of the time. No matter who they choose, it’s going to require a corresponding 40-man move as they still only have one on the roster.
Aldred, De Los Santos, Eickhoff, Stratton, Sulser and Weiman I believe are all in actual consideration for making the pen but all of them would require a 40-man transaction.
The only other member of this group I could see actually forcing his way to Pittsburgh is Bligh Madris. He hit a homerun this Spring in one of his very few at bats, but he’d need either an injury to Bryan Reynolds, Ben Gamel, Anthony Alford, or Greg Allen. His other path is simply terrible performance, and if I’m honest that’s only in a direct swap for Alford. Allen is too new to assume he’s got as short a leash as Alford is now on shot number 3 with the Bucs. And so far in his 5 at bats he’s struck out 4 times. Now, this isn’t a great situation, and I’m not going to bother saying they should have signed an Outfielder again. But Alford is one of the few right handed options they have and on top of their seemingly limitless patience with him that might cause them to hold on, at least for a little.
I’m not sure that matters all that much, and maybe Cole Tucker who’s starting in Right Field today can fill that void.
The mound is messier. We know they will eventually have a 13 man limit on the staff but we don’t yet know the roster size on opening day. GMs are supposed to talk to the league about potentially having rosters expanded from 26 to 28 or 29 for the month of April. If that happens it would primarily be for extra pitching so I’m sure that 13 would also go up.
We could know this by the end of the week and then projections will be much easier along with another cut that’s sure to come.