Pirates Set to Shake Up Their Bench; Moroff and Gosselin to Join Team in New York

The Pittsburgh Pirates plan to shake up the roster after Wednesday’s loss. Alan Saunders reports that Gift Ngoepe will be heading to Indianapolis, and Alan Hanson won’t be traveling with the team to New York, per both players. No reason is given on Hanson, although it sounds like the Pirates are moving on. Neither player has been hitting well this season, with Hanson struggling in a very limited bench role and Ngoepe posting a high strikeout rate.

The Pirates won’t need to make another roster move until prior to Friday’s game. I’ll note that our own Brian Peloza reported that Max Moroff was a late scratch from the Indianapolis lineup, so he is likely going to fill one of the two spots.

Hanson is hitting .193/.220/.263 in 37 games, getting just 57 at-bats all season. If he does go on waivers, it’s unlikely that he would clear, but I’m sure the Pirates would like to see him clear so he could get regular at-bats in Indianapolis and try to regain some value. If a team picks him up, they will need to keep him in the majors, so that could work in the favor of the Pirates. Ngoepe hit .222/.323/.296, with most of his damage coming during his first two games. He has 26 strikeouts in 54 at-bats.

UPDATE: 10:23 PM: Our own Brian Peloza in Indianapolis confirms that Max Moroff and Phil Gosselin will be rejoining the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday in New York.

  • Here’s the unspoken problem as i see it. Indianapolis has too many players like Gosselin, Hanson, Moroff, Ngope, Bostick, Osuna, etc. who are just not ready for prime time and may never be! Oh they play well at AAA, but they may be really AAAA players? Hope I’m wrong and time will tell. But the Pirates need bench/reserve players who can play at least a little bit on both offense and defense. Not many Indy players seem ready to be able to do that.

    Indy seems talented in starting pitching, but not in position players now that Bell, Frazier and Polanco are up and playing well.

  • As kind of an aside, our good friend Pedro Alvarez has an opt out clause for today. His overall numbers look pretty paltry in AAA, but he is currently 13 games into one of his Pedro streaks where he is hitting over .300 with 8HR’s. NH has confirmed that he has cash he saved from the various suspensions. Might be worth taking a flier on, put him back at 3B, and put a net in front of the stands on the 1B line.
    Now I am going to go throw up in my brain to expunge these idiotic thoughts.

    • Saved cash won’t matter for Pedro. If the Pirates were inclined to sign him it would likely be for league minimum. That said they don’t really have a spot for him. Even if we pretend he never had the yips he still most likely wouldn’t be a better option than Freese.

      • Are you sure about that? Look at Freese’s numbers since the first 2 weeks of the season. His average is currently down to .250, and I don’t remember the last home run he hit.

        Regardless, I was joking about Fat Pete.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 1, 2017 7:49 am

    Gosselin….the Pirates FO are a stubborn bunch…

  • MLBTradeRumors is reporting that Hanson has been placed on waivers. I understand the move. Hanson as a SS is probably still in the system. Hanson as a utility guy that can’t hit is not of much use. He will probably be claimed, because as hard as it is to believe, there are worse teams taking the field on a daily basis than the Pirates.
    Thinking back to their days in West Virginia, who would have guessed that Hanson would be the least useful major leaguer out of Polanco, Hanson, Osuna and Garcia? You just never know with prospects.

    • Well actually he is out of options so he has to go on waivers either way. I think if he clears waivers they will outright him to AAA and he doesn’t have the service time to decline that assignment.

  • BucsStopHere
    June 1, 2017 1:21 am

    Enough of the average players and time to admit the Pirates are nowhere to being a contender. Bring up Meadows on June 10 and either Cole or Newman. Look at the Astros, they’re tearing it up and they flat out sucked but used young kids so they earned experience. Also time for a new GM and scouting director that can find some bats.

    • Who is this Cole you speak of? Gerrit Cole is already on the major league roster.

      • I do believe he’s suggesting Cole Tucker be promoted from Bradenton right now.

    • Newman needs to start hitting better at AA before even getting called up to AAA, much less to MLB.

    • I don’t think you understand how the Astros actually went about building their team. It certainly wasn’t by promoting a guy from A+ ball or a guy that is struggling at AA.

      • Bucs Stop Here
        June 12, 2017 12:42 pm

        Houston has made better decisions by analyzing and recognizing talent better. (Except for Mark Appel). But since you decided to put your foot in your mouth regarding promoting from low minors, i’ve decided to help. Jose Altuve’s highest minor league level was A+ Cal league. Carlos Correa was 20 years old when he was called up to the big club after two full seasons and change in the minors. That’s moving fast!

  • BucsStopHere
    June 1, 2017 1:14 am

    No Improvement.

  • If the Pirates don’t lose Hanson through waivers at some point, I expect he will be a throw-in on some trade this summer. Pirates have lots of 2nd basemen and don’t seem much impressed with Hanson.

  • Gosselin over Hanson is insanity….they did not give him a shot….All I have seen is Goss kick the ball over and over into center and suck at hitting. All I saw Hanson do was chew seeds on the bench….absurd…Moroff will do more of the same, strike out every at bat…..he has literally struck out every major league at bat except for 1…Hey, who knows, maybe Kang got his Visa? Realistically through given this season, Adam Frazier and Polanco probably both died while working out with Starling Marte

    • What is this love affair with Hanson? He hasn’t done a thing in years which includes over 1000 ABs. Stop with he didn’t get a chance. This team will certainly not miss him. If he does make an impact he certainly will need a change of some sort and that should take place in Indy or some other minor league park. Morroff has shown something this year and appears to have made some adjustments. I would certainly like to have a guy on the bench that might be able to clear a wall with a hit once in while.

      • The biggest thing to me is that Hansen hasn’t handled AAA convincingly either. He’s had 900+ at bats and is hitting in the 260s with a low walk rate and a high strike out rate. His chance of even being a good bench player was slim. Even so, he would probably not clear waivers. Some other craptacular team out there will likely take a flier on him then DFA him themselves later.

        • I think he clears waivers, he’ll have to be on the big league team if someone grabs him and he’s just not a MLB player.

      • This isn’t an argument of him being an impact player…it’s about him being better than Goss or, at least having more to offer, which he clearly does. Hanson barely played in the majors, he was not allowed to. Again, I am comparing Hanson to Goss, there is no “love affair” here, Hanson clearly has more to offer.

  • John Dreker
    May 31, 2017 10:43 pm

    Pirates have off tomorrow and Monday, so that will help the pitching staff

  • taylor26554
    May 31, 2017 10:35 pm

    The bench would have looked a lot better if we would have Marte and Kang on the team. Then Frazier and Freese would be on the bench. The Pirates would have not traded for Gosselin either. Some things you just can’t anticipate in the off season.

    • This is dead on. Polanco missed a good bit of time, too. We should never have seen so much John Jaso, especially in the outfield. The bench isn’t bad, it’s just that too many of those guys have been forced into full time starter roles.

  • Bullpen is absolutely gassed, I would anticipate one of the moves would be an arm…

  • I am with one of the posters that the Pirates will be bringing up
    a short term arm, (maybe just a few days) because of the depleted
    bull pen. I think the Pirates know Hanson will clear otherwise,
    I don’t think they would take the chance.

    As for Gift. I thought he was used well and gave the Pirates
    a bit of a lift and some good defense and some occasional offense
    I hope he is back soon. I will give CH some credit, I thought he
    used Gift pretty well to help the team.
    I think the other spot is short term outfielder while Polonco gets healthy.

    • John Dreker
      May 31, 2017 10:37 pm

      I thought he used Ngoepe poorly because he has never shown the ability to be an MLB hitter. After his second game, he hit .163/.241/.204 with 25 strikeouts in 49 at-bats. Hurdle was fooled basically by one game. Ngoepe is a glove-first, runner second, that’s it.

      • Can’t hit the curve ball.

        • John Dreker
          May 31, 2017 11:22 pm

          Or the high fastball, but doesn’t stop him from trying.

          • I thought he might have finally turned a corner offensively this year after a solid Spring. Oh well.

            • John Dreker
              June 1, 2017 9:45 am

              The strikeouts were still high in spring, so that was the indicator for me that nothing had changed. He had a .621 BABIP, which is ridiculous. Counting AAA, he has 48 strikeouts in 112 AB’s this year.

          • Sounds like the Dottie Hinson scouting report on Kit Keller “High fastballs, she can’t hit em’. Can’t lay off em'”

          • All fastballs are high for him.

            I am not buying that he is 5’8 or 5’9″

            John have you stood next to him to see
            how tall he actually is? … 5’6″?

  • Hurdle’s approach to the bench reminds me of Paul Rudd from Forgetting Sarah Marshall – “When life gives you lemons, just say @&$# the lemons and bail.”

  • Rogers?

  • Could also be adding an arm?

    • John Dreker
      May 31, 2017 8:57 pm

      Anything is possible at this point. I’d say it’s unlikely just a coincidence, but even Moroff coming up isn’t 100% certain

      • No one but Nova seems to go consistently past 5 innings. Maybe Brault for Friday and Saturday for insurance?

  • Bostic deserves it along with Moroff however I’d say it’s time for Meadows

    • John Dreker
      May 31, 2017 8:44 pm

      Meadows won’t be up just a week or so ahead of the super 2 cutoff safe date. He will be up June 10th at the earliest.

      • Good point John

      • John Marzullo
        May 31, 2017 9:23 pm

        Do you think Meadows has received “enough” at-bats in AAA/AA?

        • John Dreker
          May 31, 2017 10:29 pm

          I personally don’t like putting a minimum on it. When he looks ready and he’s playing well, then he’s ready. He won’t magically get better with 50 more at-bats. When you leave down players who are ready just to get them some minimum time, all you’re doing is wasting at-bats. Unless someone competent is in their eventual spot, then you’re also hurting the team.

  • It would be cool to vote on who fills the two roster spots. Maybe Kris Bryant is being announced as the newest Buc.

  • I loved our bench last year with Rodriguez, Joyce, and Freeze. Hope we don’t see a return of Gosselin

    • Well reading this comment after reading Gosselin is getting called up makes me worried about how you took the news.

  • Yeah, Hanson and Ngoepe have caused the team to lose so many games….

    DFA Hurdle. Then embark on a rebuild.

    • Darkstone42
      May 31, 2017 8:21 pm

      In fairness to Hurdle, having both Hanson and Ngoepe on your bench is awfully handcuffing when it comes to giving guys days off and even pinch hitting.

      • Hurdle ought to wear hadcuffs.

      • In fairness to the other 24 players on the roster, Hurdle does continue to run Hudson out to the rubber in games that they previously weren’t losing. Hurdle continues to remove Josh Bell from games after the 6th inning when the Pirates have a lead. Lastly, we are 50ish games into the season, and everyone outside of Bell, Cutch, Mercer and Harrison have spent time on the DL, how much rest do these guys need? The struggles of the Pirates have more to do with the fact that they have used 50% or more of their opening day roster for their AAA team as starters on their major league team. That is not a recipe for success no matter who is sitting on the bench.

    • “:Yeah, Hanson and Ngoepe have caused the team to lose so many games….

      DFA Hurdle. Then embark on a rebuild.”

      Ok, Ring the bell. We have a winner
      for most creative comment of the week!

  • Things didn’t end well for Hanson. Gift got a taste of MLB, probably way more than anyone thought. Moroff probably isn’t the answer to the season long bench woes, but he’ll offer some hope. The F.O. must have a trade in the works for the 2nd pickup.
    The BP could use a good shakeup also.

    • John Dreker
      May 31, 2017 8:43 pm

      Hanson might not be gone. A phantom DL trip is a possibility, all he said was that he wasn’t going to NY with the team. Anything beyond that is speculation.

      • True. The wording of not going to NY and Hanson saying it himself is cause to wait. Good catch.

        • I hope for his sake, Hanson is gone. Maybe he is an MLB-caliber player, maybe not, but, after 3 months in the majors, the Pirates have no clue one way or the other.

          Thanks for the memories; hope you find a team willing to extend a legitimate opportunity. Maybe Milwaukee?

  • Darkstone42
    May 31, 2017 8:17 pm

    Oh good. It was about time. Maybe Bostick will be the other player called up?

    • John Dreker
      May 31, 2017 8:41 pm

      I’d say Gosselin is more likely, since he isn’t in the lineup. Wouldn’t make much sense to scratch one player late and let the other one play. Gosselin isn’t playing