First Pitch: One of the Busiest Days of the Off-Season For Transactions

The off-season is full of transactions, but in most cases, you never know when those transactions might take place. That’s not the case today. Today is one of about three or four days during the off-season where you know that a specific team is going to be making a transaction. It’s the day to protect players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. I wrote about the decisions the Pirates will have to make, noting that they probably have about six players who could realistically be added.

That will mean the Pirates need to create four roster spots, since they currently only have two open on the 40-man roster. Brent Morel, Chaz Roe, Ramon Cabrera, and Jaff Decker look to be the top candidates to be removed from the 40-man roster. Preston Guilmet and Jake Elmore are two other possibilities. The Pirates will need to eventually clear all of these guys, in order to add a few free agents throughout the off-season.

There’s also the possibility that the Pirates could add someone externally via waiver claim. That could happen tomorrow, or sometime in the next few days. Just like the Pirates waiving people to create roster space for their Rule 5 additions, other teams will be clearing players to protect their own prospects. The next few days will feature the biggest waiver activity period of the off-season, which means the odds of the Pirates making a claim are higher. They’ve been no stranger to that in recent years, making claims in addition to their Rule 5 additions.

I don’t think any of the moves coming up will be major, to the point where they will make a huge impact on the 2015 team. The prospects added to the roster might make an impact, but they’re not really new additions to the team. The best you can hope for is that the Pirates might fill a smaller role, like a bench player or a bullpen arm.

As usual, we’ll have coverage of all of the moves, along with a write up of what to expect in 2015 from the prospects who were protected from the Rule 5 draft.

Links and Notes

**Pre-Order the 2015 Prospect Guide

**Mixed Reports on the Pirates Signing Radhames Liz

**Pirates Need to Protect Players Tomorrow From the Rule 5 Draft; Who Should Be Protected?

**Baseball Prospectus Releases Top Ten Pirates Prospect List

**Winter Leagues: Tony Sanchez Makes Debut, News on Melancon, Polanco and Harold Ramirez

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.

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dr dng

As I am learing, I would guess that some players would also be getting a nice pay increase.
So what would be the pay this year for first year on 40 player roster?
When would this new play rate start? When they report for spring training?


Tim: Of that group of players listed, Jaff Decker has to be the best option to protect going into his age 25 season; a left handed hitter who makes contact – I think he had 50+ Walks and only 70+ K’s last year at Indy, and that was coming off a solid season at AAA for SD in 2013 before the Pirates picked him up.

Lukas Sutton

Doubtful someone would take him in R5, as he would have to stay on the roster and isnt likely a clear upgrade from most teams current options/young options in AAA. He has value, but likely not enough value that the Pirates are terrified of losing him and not enough value that another team wants to use their bench OF on him all season.


Decker is basically another Alex Presley, so he does have some value in terms of utility – being able to play all three OF positions. But until such time as the Bucs unload Tabata, he’s basically the sixth OF option (or seventh if there’s a good utility IF that allows Josh to play the corner spots due to a couple of OF injuries).

I don’t know if that’s enough to warrant keeping Decker. As was mentioned yesterday, he’s probably not compelling enough to be claimed by other team.


The Pirates need to look at Tabata’s contract as a spent cost, and simply release Tabata if Decker or another option is clearly better. They have to prioritize putting the best team on the field, not recovering value from a contract mistake.

Lukas Sutton

As a pure bench bat, Tabata has some value (though he is overpaid going forward). Defensively and on the bases he isnt very good, but having him as an in case of emergency bench option isnt bad.


Jose Tabata is a league average hitter over 1700 Major League at-bats.

None of what you just said made the least bit of sense.


Best of a not very good lot IMHO – Rojas and Broxton are both more valuable OF assets right now – and will probably be lost if not protected. Cabrera is interesting because he is a catcher and just 25.


Decker and Rojas are the same age, and Decker has been the same to a better hitter at every level. I’m not sure how valuable a guy is that took until 24 to get of AA, though he would give you more options years than Decker.

Lee Foo Young

Emjay…agree…he’s the only one I see worth protecting.

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