Earlier today the Pittsburgh Pirates released their Wild Card roster. There weren’t too many surprises. When asked if he considered Francisco Liriano in a relief role, Clint Hurdle simply said “No.” He also discussed a few of the moves that rounded out the roster.
The Roles For Vance Worley and Jeff Locke
Last year the Pirates went with Francisco Liriano as their starter, although they had Gerrit Cole on the Wild Card roster in the event that something went wrong early with Liriano. This year they have two additional starters joining Edinson Volquez, with Vance Worley and Jeff Locke on the roster. Hurdle said that he wanted a volume guy, in the event that Volquez gets injured early, or if the game goes to 13 innings like last night’s Royals/Athletics game. This led to the decision of those two over a guy like Jeanmar Gomez, who has been in the bullpen all year.
“There could be two options that need to play,” Hurdle said on the starters. “That way Gomez doesn’t fit for me quite as well for this particular game. I think also we’re being game specific here. We look at volume of work, out of the bullpen, ball to strike ratio, walk to strikeout ratio, ground ball ratio, we looked at all the numbers coming in, the fact they’re going to push six left‐handed hitters in this lineup and have all the rest of the right‐handed bench players.”
Hurdle noted that this was a roster designed for this specific game, and that these pitching moves, along with the addition of Bobby LaFromboise, was due to the makeup of the Giants roster and lineup.
Brent Morel over Chase d’Arnaud
The other move that was up in the air was the final bench spot. The Pirates went with Brent Morel over Chase d’Arnaud. Hurdle said that they went with Morel due to the lack of first base options. Gaby Sanchez will start tonight, and if he gets lifted for Ike Davis late in the game, and Davis gets injured, Morel would be the backup at first. He also didn’t sound high on d’Arnaud as a base stealing option or an option that they’d even consider defensively in the infield.
“I’ve still got Polanco that can run, or some dynamic along that,” Hurdle said. “I’m going to need another first baseman. Morel can play first. He can play third. To go into this game with only one extra infielder, Clint Barmes, we thought might be challenging.”
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.