On the Bubble – Which Pirates are in Danger of Being a 40-man Casualty

11-1-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

I opened this conversation yesterday in the 5 Pirates Thoughts at Five. Today, I’m moving a ball forward a bit. I want to look at everyone on the 40 man today who I feel is or should be in danger of being removed.

It might not be as simple as it sounds, but it has to happen before this whole puzzle gets put together.

We’re going to have to break this into categories to really make sense of this. Some guys are completely safe because there isn’t anyone internal coming quickly, nobody on the 26-man who can play or pitch where they do, but on this list because a relatively cheap signing would eliminate their usefulness. Others have simply had enough time and now there’s just not much reason left to try.

Lets go through it and see where we land.

Safe With No Outside Additions

  1. Junior Fernandez – A waiver claim (a common designation that will be littered through this entire piece) from the St. Louis Cardinals, Junior is a soon to be 26 year old right handed reliever. He made his debut in 2019 and has only managed 54 innings since in MLB. Last season he had an ERA of 2.93 in only 15.1 innings and 0.00 in his 3.1 with Pittsburgh. Point is, he’s a guy this team will want to see compete in Spring, unless they bring in too much competition and need a spot. Might even be a guy they try slipping through waivers themselves.
  2. Nick Mears – Nick has a huge fastball, but he simply hasn’t been healthy. The Pirates have had him on the 40 man since 2020 and he’s pitched a total of 30.1 innings. Results hardly matter when you lack availability. I believe they think he has something to offer, but patience might be thin.
  3. Peter Solomon – Peter was claimed off waivers from the Houston Astros. The right hander is huge at 6’4″ 211 lbs, and he’s only had 6 games of experience at the Major League level but there is a caveat here, first being, he’s was very good in those 6 games. His minor league stats aren’t stellar, but all the peripherals are there. This might be a case of a super strong Houston roster simply not having room for another kid. I put him here because I think they’d love to see what he has.
  4. Eric Stout – We saw Eric bounce like a superball up and down the entire second half of the season. His biggest saving grace is probably that he’s left handed, but the numbers aren’t great, and that simple fact, which side he throws from is the only reason I put him here instead of our next category.
  5. Miguel Yajure – One question. Is the loss in velocity permanent? They have to answer that question because while he was never a flame thrower, without the little he had his off speed simply doesn’t play. Yajure is almost definitely going to be squeezed out of the starting mix, now its about how well they think he could transition to the bullpen. Struggled with which category to put him in honestly but this one feels right.
  6. Ali Sanchez – The catcher claimed off waivers just can’t be a lock to make the roster. He’s done next to nothing in the Bigs and can’t be an answer for more than backup at that level heading into 2023. Wanna see a neat trick? Check the next two…
  7. Jason Delay – Just can’t be a lock to make the roster. He’s done next to nothing in the Bigs and can’t be an answer for more than backup at that level heading into 2023. Wanna see a neat trick?
  8. Tyler Heineman – Just can’t be a lock to make the roster. He’s done next to nothing in the Bigs and can’t be an answer for more than backup at that level heading into 2023. Wanna see a neat trick? Wrap all three of these into one or two. One of them will be gone for sure, maybe 2.
  9. Beau Sulser – They just picked him back up off waivers, so it probably seems silly to put him here, but it’d hardly be the first time the Pirates have done this. Bottom line, Beau is just a dude. Don’t be shocked if they try to sneak him through again.

Probably Cuttable Regardless

  1. Jeremy Beasley – Beasley was purchased from the Blue Jays in August and never pitched an inning for the Bucs. He’s been a starter in most of his minor league career, but hasn’t managed to do so in the Bigs. Depth or AAA starter, and likely not in the plans. Almost for sure not worth the valuable spot.
  2. Zack Collins – Look, I’d already have this one done, but reality is they have nobody who has played first base at the MLB level, and until they do, this might be a guy they see as a safety net. I’d argue the net is fraying and dry rotted, but I digress.
  3. Hoy Park – I can’t see where he fits. He’s not needed as depth in AAA, he doesn’t have a position at the MLB level. His bat isn’t impressive enough to hold a valuable spot. This one seems easy to me, but GM’s get weird about guys they pick up sometimes.
  4. Johan Ramirez – I appreciated that he provided some innings at the end of a dreadful second half of the season. I get that he has great stuff and on occasion that makes him look like a worthy project. I also think he’s done relatively little in 3 years up here. If you want to say I’m wrong, use his Pittsburgh numbers, he looks really competent there. Personally, I’d move on and thank him for the work he did.

Long Shots, Unless They’re Aggressive

  1. Diego Castillo – Listen, I know some of you really like him. I know some of you saw the power spurts and are completely sold there’s more there. I’m not, and further, I don’t see where he gets at bats. If we truly want to get better, you have to be willing to stop pretending projects are going to suddenly break out.
  2. Tucupita Marcano – Not all that different from Castillo. I don’t know where he plays, and he seems to stall at the MLB level after about a week. Very little pop is going to emerge. Want an argument? He’s young, like very young. Even I think this is a real reach, but I’d be less than forthcoming if I didn’t include him.
  3. Duane Underwood Jr. – Personally, I think he’s been used up here in Pittsburgh. They’ve thrown his arm off two years in a row and I don’t like his chances to be better in year 3. This is the Pirates though, so long shot he remains.
  4. Bryse Wilson – Bryse can look really good, or really bad. Most of last year was really bad. Starting is simply not in the cards, so if they don’t think he can help in the bullpen, he could be a AAA starter who can bounce between leagues until Burrows or Priester are ready. I’d move on if only because he and Thompson are probably competing for the same job and Thompson is better.

OK, that’s what I got for today. Have to go through this stuff in a certain way to really form a good opinion on what they should do, so step one (yesterday) and two (today) together lay a firm base to work from.

Bottom line, the Pirates still have a lot of fodder on this roster. This wasn’t even hard folks, and I wouldn’t have a second thought if every single one of these was gone tomorrow. Again, if we want to see the roster improve, you have to be willing to cut loose players, even if you haven’t seen enough in your mind. In that case, imagine what their top of the mountain looks like, then wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze.

More to come…

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

5 thoughts on “On the Bubble – Which Pirates are in Danger of Being a 40-man Casualty

  1. I think many of us has a tendency to want the team to hoard as many of these guys as possible believing that youth and the fact that many were picked up in trades makes them something that they’re not. Cutting Yajure, Marcano and Park would be painful for me without stepping back and taking a closer look like the one that you provided.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking over the players you mentioned I see the following as safe Nick Mears, Ali Sanchez, Beau Sisler, Zack Collins, T. Marcano & Diego Castillo ….Gone are Eric Stoudt, Jason Delay/Tytler Heinemann (who seem to be the same player) Hoy Park , Johan Ramerez, Jeremy Beasley, Duane Underwood Jr., Bryse Wilson ( sad to see go thought could fix)& if necessary Chase Dejong I would look to draft a catcher in the rule V draft seen one I like a lot if he’s left off the 40man roster – Blake Hunt ( C– TB Rays) Hunt has been passing the eye test here in Arizona Fall League Seen him catch few & DH few times Be they
    type of add Pirates need a quality controllable player good enough so they won’t need to rush Endy or Henry to Majors

    Liked by 2 people

      1. also saw Davis here in AZ Fall League and though he is a very promising catcher and skilled he’s not quite ready for prime time – as the saying goes… if not going to steal a catcher like Blake Hunt then I’d say to use Blake Sabol, as your backup catcher as he has completely shown the hitting ability here in the fall league then once Endy is ready or passed the super two date (whichever is closer) then move Sabol to DH/ 4 or 5th OF/1B situation -Yes I know that defense isn’t Sabol’s strong suit but Id be willing to compromise there to get his bat in the lineup on a semi-regular basis

        Liked by 1 person

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