The Pirates Could Be Active on the Trade Market in the Next Week

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a big wave of cuts today, putting the Spring Training roster at 31 players. That includes Chris Stewart, who is projected to start the season on the disabled list. That leaves five more cuts remaining before Opening Day.

Neal Huntington said today that the team could make the final cuts in Philadelphia over the weekend.

“As hard as our decisions were last night and at the end of today, we’ve still got some challenging decisions,” Huntington said.

Those “challenging decisions” don’t appear to include many players on the active roster. If the Pirates don’t make any trades, then their roster appears to be set, with just a few expected cuts remaining. The only challenging decision would be deciding which reliever to let go out of the four relievers who are out of options and battling for the final three bullpen spots.

The Pirates could be active on the trade market this week, with as many as four trades being a possibility. We know they’ll end up making one trade out of the bullpen, but there could be three other moves made, depending on how things play out with the rest of the active roster. Here is a look at the final position battles, the expected cuts, and what trades could possibly be made.

First Base

Right now Travis Ishikawa is projected to be in the first base platoon with Gaby Sanchez. Neal Huntington didn’t sound like they were committed to Ishikawa in that role. The Pirates have been linked to first basemen in trade rumors all Spring, and now that they have optioned Andrew Lambo to Triple-A, that might be a more likely route.

The Bullpen Battle

The Pirates still have four relievers for three spots in Jeanmar Gomez, Vin Mazzaro, Bryan Morris, and Stolmy Pimentel. One of those guys has to go, since all are out of options. I’d expect Pimentel and Morris to stick around, which means Gomez or Mazzaro could be dealt by the end of the week.

The Pirates also have Andy Oliver remaining on the roster. He’s out of options, but doesn’t project to make the team. He’s a trade candidate if any team sees enough in him to try and jump the waiver wire line. However, that team would have to put Oliver on the active roster, which might make it more likely that he clears waivers. If that happens, the Pirates would be able to outright him to the minors, and keep him there until he’s eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.

The Rotation Depth

Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton are still in camp, although neither player projects to make the Opening Day roster. Locke isn’t stretched out yet, throwing three innings today at Pirate City. If the Pirates need an early season starter, then Brandon Cumpton makes the most sense. The only way he makes the Opening Day roster is if there’s an injury.

The Bench

Today’s cuts of Robert Andino and Michael Martinez mean that Josh Harrison is the likely winner of the final bench spot. However, that could change if the Pirates decide to make a trade, such as the addition of someone like Didi Gregorious. If they don’t add outside help, then I see Harrison making the team.

The remaining player to be cut would be Nevin Ashley. The Pirates will go with Russell Martin and Tony Sanchez as their catchers on Opening Day, meaning Ashley will start off with Indianapolis.

Remaining Cuts

The Pirates need to make five more cuts. They will lose one player when they trade one of the four relievers who are out of options. Andy Oliver will be another cut, regardless of whether he is traded or waived. Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton are also expected to be cut. Nevin Ashley would be the final player to be cut.

If they bring in a first baseman or a middle infielder via trade, then Travis Ishikawa and Josh Harrison would also be cuts. Otherwise, those two currently project to make the active roster.

  • Pretty Good Summation Timmy- I’m on the same page as you this year

  • Beating a dead horse but I certainly hope a trade for a first baseman is done before Monday!

  • Bucs just got Vance Worley for cash – I like the move. I am pretty sure he has options left

    • Unless somebody comes in and really makes a strong pitch to NH, I do not see any “major” activity, and that is what I would consider Gregorius. I stated in another thread that I see Didi as not quite as good of a prospect as Alen Hanson, and probably less of a hitter than JHay. I still see the trade of Gomez and possibly Tabata to Seattle for Nick Franklin. With the difficulties that Oakland and Texas are having with pitching, I truly cannot understand Trader Jack from trying to get a guy like Gomez for RHSP/RHRP and Tabata may be better than any OF they have, although I admit I cannot name any 2 of their OF.

      • Emjay, I love your insights. Hanson and Gregorius are completely different players. With the Pirates focus on sinkerball pitching and defense, its unlikely Hanson will ever be a starting short stop for us, Just like its unlikely Mercer will be allowed long term tenure there. Walker (although I view him as being above average defensively) has a negative UZR so we can’t afford to have two minus defenders up the middle, with third base also a question mark with Pedro. Gregorius tells us we can let go of Barmes and have a defense first short stop, switch Mercer over to second, let go of Neil, and then Hanson slides into second if he’s ready in 2016, allowing Mercer to be a really solid Utility man. Its a perfect fit…..if the price is right

        • Proposed that same situation in another thread. Only difference, I keep Neil, let he and Mercer platoon. Gives us the ability to platoon Pedro when necessary as well. I then try and deal Neil in the offseason.

  • Shame we can’t keep all the arms, as they’ve all been good soldiers for us. I’d almost be willing to go a week or three w/o Harrison to buy us some time to see if a different solution presents itself (injury, etc.)

    • i’ve heard worse ideas. such a huge bullpen obviously isn’t ideal, but neither is giving away talent for free.

    • Seriously, can’t one of these guys just do the honorable thing and get in a fight with a shopping cart at the local Giant Eagle?

      You just know as soon as we let one of these guys go, someone will get hurt.

  • Don’t teams realize that if the pirates don’t trade their surplus of relievers they will have to release them any ways? Why wouldn’t a prospective team just wait to get them for free?

    • PiratesFan1975
      March 25, 2014 4:29 pm

      If anyone outside the 1st few teams in the waiver order want them they will have for trade them. None of those pitchers would make it through waivers.

  • If the Pirates were to swing a trade with the D-Backs and get Didi, Harrison or a bullpen pitcher could be involved in such a trade.
    I would like to see them go after Carp from the Red Sox, but I don’t think the Red Sox need anything which puts them in a pretty good bargaining position, because they don’t have to make any deals.

    • What I see happening is this:
      Diamondbacks get: SP Jeff Locke(LH)/Brandon Cumpton and a low level minor leaguer
      Mets get: Didi Gregorious(SS) and Vin Mazzaro(RP)
      Pirates get: Anthony Recker(C) and Ike Davis(1B)
      It makes sense and helps everyone involved.

  • Does Harrison have options remaining?

    • PiratesFan1975
      March 25, 2014 4:32 pm

      Yes, he has one. The 2014 40 man payroll projection link to the right of the page has options listed for all the players on the 40 man roster.