Pirates Prospects Daily: Where The 40-Man Sits After The Winter Meetings

The Pittsburgh Pirates were plenty busy during the MLB Winter Meetings, adding through free agency and the Rule 5 draft.

Over the course of the week, they worked deals to add three pitchers to the roster. That includes agreements with Jarlin Garcia and Vince Velasquez, who have yet to be made official. The Pirates have expressed the intention to sign additional players, so don’t be surprised if there are more moves to come after this week.

In the meantime, here’s a look at how the roster is shaping up, with one open spot on the 40-man. 

Starting Pitching Options

JT Brubaker

Mike Burrows

Roansy Contreras

Mitch Keller

Max Kranick – Injured

Luis Ortiz

Johan Oviedo

Bryse Wilson

Vince Velasquez – Not on 40-Man Yet

That last one might be a little strange to see there, as he pitched much better out of the bullpen than he did as a starter this past season. I’m not saying that the team is finished adding in the rotation, but they did give more money to Velasquez than they did to Tyler Anderson and Jose Quintana. 

As it is currently constructed, Wilson may have an inside track to be the fifth starter, seeing as he is out of options and Ortiz only pitched 16 innings in the majors last year. Brubaker, Keller, and Contreras seem like locks, and Oviedo could slot in as the fourth starter.

The Bullpen is Growing

David Bednar

Wil Crowe

Chase De Jong

Yerry De Los Santos

Jose Hernandez – Rule 5 Pick

Colin Holderman

Nick Mears

Dauri Moreta

Yohan Ramirez

Colin Selby

Robert Stephenson

Zach Thompson

Duane Underwood Jr.

Jarlin Garcia – Not on 40-Man Yet

Garcia and Hernandez give the Pirates a pair of lefties they didn’t have when the week started.

Stephenson finished strong and was retained for a little over $1 million. De Los Santos and Holderman are returning from injury. Yohan Ramirez put up some intriguing pitch metrics, especially with his sinker.

The added depth should keep the Pirates from having to use Wil Crowe in spots he was obviously uncomfortable with last year. 

There’s No MLB Catcher

Endy Rodriguez

Derek Shelton said Endy wasn’t going to start the year in the majors, so the Pirates will have to add two players at the position at some point between now and the start of the season. With Max Kranick out for the season, his roster spot could be used to eventually add the backup from a group of minor league free agents.

A Young Infield

Ji-Hwan Bae

Diego Castillo

Rodolfo Castro

Ji-Man Choi

Oneil Cruz

Ke’Bryan Hayes

Liover Peguero

Carlos Santana

Choi and Santana will split time at first, while Hayes and Cruz have their positions locked up. That leaves second base, where Castro could be the front runner at the moment. Bae’s speed had him playing in the outfield mostly when he came up, but is an option at second and has played some shortstop in the minors.

Outfield Up in the Air

Miguel Andujar

Tucupita Marcano

Cal Mitchell

Bryan Reynolds

Canaan Smith-Njigba

Jack Suwinski

Travis Swaggerty

Ryan Vilade

The interesting camp battle, if it gets there, will be Andujar against Vilade as both are the only righties among the outfielders. Smith-Njigba is returning from a wrist injury, and Suwinski finished in a tie for the NL rookie lead in home runs, despite struggling to hit lefties (.511 OPS), or even on the road (.395 OPS). So, for now, the outfield picture consists of Reynolds and everyone else fighting for a spot.

One thing to note, is that the Pirates went into the Winter Meetings with a 40-man roster with only two spots open. They were able to hold back making the Jarlin Garcia and Vince Velasquez deals official to allow them to still select Jose Hernandez in the Rule 5 draft.

Now that the meetings are finished, someone is going to have to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for the new pitchers.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**In our latest Prospect Roundtable, we each picked a player who we would have liked to have seen kept in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, along with our top three players lost.

**The Pirates added Cale Johnson from the Atlanta Braves system to join their minor league system as a pitching coach. John Dreker has more on the addition.

**Oneil Cruz hit a monster home run, which you can read about in John Dreker’s latest Pirates winter league report.

**Missed yesterday? We recapped the Rule 5 draft and the roster management issue the Pirates had.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

The Pirates lost 11 players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. In this week’s Roundtable, we each picked a player that we would have liked to have seen kept around, along with our top three players lost.

Prospect Roundtable: Which Pirates MiLB Rule 5 Loss Would You Have Kept?

Check back on Friday at noon for the latest Pirates Discussion from Jeff Reed.

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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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I hate to say this but the Pirates are merely a stopping off point for any player they have that is very good. Once the player proves himself then its time to move him to another team willing to pay what he is worth. I guess you can say the Pirates are the majors leagues minor league.


By the end of the offseason, i really really don’t see them valuing Bryse Wilson anymore. Maybe someone here will parse some decent run at the end of the season, but i really think his value last year was being able to come up and go down to AAA. i dont think he has value as a guy who cant be sent down.


It would be nice if they could do a 2 for 1 trade, such as a package of Liover & one of the OF’s to bring in a starter to the Catcher, OF, or SP holes on the roster & opens up another spot.

A couple possibilities i came up with at the Trade Simulator site:

Liover & Triolo (none of the OF’s had as much value) for Cole Irvin SP OAK
Liover & Kranick for Ian Anderson SP ATL
Liover & Suwinski for either Alek Thomas or Jake McCarthey (similar values) OF ARI
Liover & Swaggerty for Edward Cabrera SP MIA
Liover & Brubaker for Ryan Mountcastle LF BAL
Liover for Snell LHP SD
Diego & Suwinski for Dane Dunning SP TEX
Liover & CSN for Mize SP DET
Liover & Moreta for Kiriloff OF MIN

man, that was tougher than i thought initially, but some good options there


Peguero ain’t getting traded

The Gunner

Nice post for sure…….very well thought out, IMO. Probably any of those proposed deals would improve the 2023 Pirates.

b mcferren

I like each of these deals


I think fans are realizing more and more how valuable a 40 man roster spot is.

all of this is easier said than done. nearly every team has 40 man roster crunching to do. Therefore, they dont really wanna do those 2 for 1s either. Theyre also trying to deal away 2 guys for 1.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007

Lord help us if Bryse Wilson is on the roster, let alone the 5th starter. If BC cannot improve on that possible scenario, he is indeed a failure as a GM. There is a lot of non major league quality players on that 40 man roster…hard to believe we exposed Gorski and Sabol. Incompetence….this organization never changes – it only plays its own prospects after all other options have been exhausted.


Short version: not enough good baseball players on the 40 man!

Wilbur Miller

Being generous, I figure there are maybe 30 worth keeping. Once Garcia and Velasquez are added, maybe . . . 31.


realistically i think we see at least one RH hitter for 1b or corner OF added and at least one pitcher added. We also know that they need two catchers.

between those additions, and already being at 41, i think we see at least 5 of these current guys gone by opening day.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007

I’m sure one of those 4 additions i mention will be a MiLB deal with a promise to make the team out of spring. He can take Kranick’s spot once he can go to the 60.

So that’s 4 subtractions.


i wonder if they have a belief that Andujar’s splits so far in his career – not being able to hit lefties – are real.

They could use multiple presences at OF and 1b/dh that can hit lefty pitching.

Even if we assume that Andujar will fill one of those roles, they still need one more. i mention Cutch/Pollock elsewhere.

Wilbur Miller

Statistically speaking, for RH hitters at least, splits tend to regress to the middle over time. They may just figure on that.


i suppose it’s worth a shot


An Andrew McCutchen / AJ Pollock type would be easy + welcome


Three most annoying words I’ve heard the past couple of years “Derek Shelton said”!

b mcferren

are we all ok to just roll with our young outfielders to start 2023?

LF Suwinski
CF Bae / Swaggerty
RF Canaan / Andujar
DH Mitchell

b mcferren

would be really cool to nab Cutch to anchor these dudes

Scam likely

Maybe Crews in August? Lol


Well, that’s a funny way of spelling Walker Jenkins….


If Reynolds wasn’t Super 2 he’d have been extended through 2028 already for approximately 6/$80M.

Without Super Two here’s where he’d be

2022 – minimum
2023 – approx $5M
2024 – approx $10M
2025 – approx $15M

Now WITH Super two he’s gonna see the $15M in 2024 and $20M in 2025. That extra $20M changes everything.

Last edited 1 month ago by bradlej31

Off topic, but…..

Nimmo gets $20 mil/yr. Is Reynolds a comp? If so, ain’t no way Nutting keeps him. And, unless we think we’ll be contending in 2024 (I think we’ll be lucky to get to .500) you might as well trade him, right?

Last edited 1 month ago by leefieux

You beat me to it…I think that Reynolds is a little bit better than Nimmo overall, and this shows how ridiculous and really insulting the offer to Reynolds was. Yes, the Mets owner wants to win and WILL spend his monies to do that and may have paid a bit above for Nimmo but not that much.

This signing just shines a big light on the Pirates and how baseball has passed them up…

Last edited 1 month ago by RAS TN

I’m not sure Reynolds is better than Nimmo, but it’s very close and a fair comp. And the rest of your point is dead on; if the offer was something like 6/80, that’s realllly low compared to what Nimmo just got. And it validates Reynolds refusal.

Wilbur Miller

It’s more than a fair comp when you consider Reynolds is 2 years younger.


and a switch-hitter


And much better power


First, do we actually know the offer and how it was structured?

Second, the Pirates aren’t the problem here. Do you think it’s a coincidence that only the big market teams are making these long-term financial commitments to players? This is a system issue, and it’s a byproduct of revenue sharing, which on the surface is marketed as competitive balance but really is financial suppression. Teams that are dependent on financial subsidies cannot make the same long-term financial commitments as their so-called big market contemporaries. The financial risks are prohibitive, and no reasonable creditor would disagree. The big market teams know this, and they 100% exploit it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anthony

Big market teams? You do realize Pittsburgh is a bigger market than San Diego.


I’ll also add that the Padres maintain ownership interests in their RSN, as well as Petco Field.


Whatcha talkin’ about hoffmark83?!

San Diego is 50% bigger in terms of population.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anthony

I suggest that hoffmark83 do a google search. I’ve done one, and he’s wrong.

Wilbur Miller

only the big market teams are making these long-term financial commitments to players

Not even close to true. Cleveland signed Jose Ramirez for 7/141 (and just signed Josh Bell for 2/33). The Brewers signed Yelich for 9/215. The Royals signed Salvador Perez for 4/82. Detroit signed Javier Baez for 6/140 and Eduardo Rodriguez for 5/77. The Rays signed Wander Franco for 11/182. Even the Marlins managed to cough up 4/53 for Avisail Garcia and 3/36 for Jorge Soler.

The Pirates are the exception in MLB. The deadbeat exception.


Weird list. Marlins signed Stanton to the massive deal and you didn’t list it. Plus you skipped the As for some reason.

Wilbur Miller

Didn’t mention Votto either, or a couple other guys. Was trying to stay reasonably current. The A’s have done a total tear down so nobody’s left there.


I didn’t say they can’t make any commitments; I said they can’t make the same commitments.

You are listing one-offs and anecdotes here. Of the 55 active MLB players with contracts >$100M, only eleven are NOT from large-revenue teams, or 20%. This includes Seattle, Detroit, and Colorado, which are arguably mid-revenue teams. If you exclude those teams, the number drops to four, or roughly 7%. Much to your dismay, this isn’t a coincidence.

I’m not sure how this concept is so misunderstood:

You’re company receives approximately 40% of its revenues from one contract; it is unlikely that you would make considerable financial commitments beyond the term of that contract as doing so would be taking on enormous and unnecessary financial risks. This contract limits your ability to make longer-term financial commitments to improve your business relative to your competition that operates unencumbered.


I don’t buy it WM. Even the big market Dodgers are reticent in giving out long-term huge dollar deals. It’s more about how comfortable the Owner is in risking his money in one player long-term.

I think BN has become more risk adverse as he’s gotten older.


Diversifying risk vis-à-vis laddering contracts is easy; it’s modeling cash flows when your uncertain of future revenue sharing agreements that makes these decisions very different for large and small revenue teams, not to mention what your creditors and lenders will and will not allow.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anthony
Wilbur Miller

Yet all the other small markets manage it and haven’t been abandoned by their creditors and lenders. Just not the Pirates.

Wilbur Miller

Risk-aversion is Bob’s middle name. That’s one of the two guiding principles with the Pirates, that and just ordinary super-cheapness.

Think about Reynolds’ situation vs. Hayes’. In these long-term deals, FO people know the out-years will be a poor value. I’ve seen articles quoting FO folks to that effect. They accept that to get the good value in the early years. Plus, deferring expenses is a standard business tactic.

There were two things going on in Hayes’ deal. One was that the Pirates were paying big money for two no-leverage 0-3 seasons. That saved them a ton in the middle years, while Hayes got a big payday years ahead of schedule. Great deal for both sides. Second, in the final guaranteed year, Hayes will still be only 32. Once hitters approach 30, the risk of decline starts growing quickly. Hayes’ out-years aren’t exceptionally risky.

Reynolds is two years older and was two years further along in FA eligibility. His 0-3 years were past, so the Pirates didn’t get the benefit of overpaying him for that. Probably more importantly, though, if he’d signed an 8-year deal the day Hayes did, he’d have been 34 in year 8. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but analytically speaking (and the Pirates absolutely look at this stuff) the risk of getting poor value in the out years would have been much higher than with Hayes.

And the Pirates won’t accept that. Even more than the extreme cheapness, Nuttin absolutely won’t tolerate the tiniest risk. They’re easily the most risk-averse team in MLB. (That’s had serious harmful impacts in ways that don’t directly involve money, but that’s a whole other subject.) There can’t be the slightest possibility of Nuttin not getting his desired profit every year, and there can’t be the slightest risk of having a bad contract on the books, even if the profits still roll in.

Just look at this offseason. Only one-year deals. They supposedly were interested in Tommy Kahnle, but dropped out once they learned he had two-year offers. R.Perez supposedly wants two years, which is probably why that hasn’t happened yet. Tucker Barnhart will probably have multi-season offers now that Houston is in, so we can forget him, too.

A Reynolds extension was never going to happen, and he was never going to be a Pirate after 2023. And this has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with wins or windows or anything baseball-related. It’s all related to money, and only money.


He’s definitely the Scrooge before being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

Someone needs to inform him his Hearst won’t have a luggage rack.


That last sentence


The Pirate should spend more this year, especially on starting pitching, and if they don’t then it shows they are either greedy or they can’t due to finances. If it is due to finances then they should open up the books to the public, or else you have to assume it is just greed.

That said, about 1/2 those contracts above are probably ill-advised and mistakes that (maybe) a small market team really needs to avoid. Even the Yelich contract may not turn out well, if last year was the start of a decline.

The problem with Reynolds is they should have locked him up early, and I can just see mgmt going “we don’t want to pay him well 2020-2022” so now they are stuck because he is too near the end of arbitration not to want a very big contract.

Finally, they said they last few years they were saving on payroll to spend it when the time came to be competitive, well that time has come.


Amen Wilbur

Wilbur Miller

There was never any chance of Reynolds being in Pgh after 2023. Bargain Bob would never pay anything like what Nimmo got and they always dump guys with two years of control left. I seriously doubt Bob would pay what Reynolds would get in arb in 2024.


He’s not the guy to anchor your team long-term. Far too inconsistent to be a long-term extension candidate. Trade him this winter and wait to use those dollars on one or more of Endy, Termarr, Davis, Bubba, etc.


But he would gladly pay that amount to 3 replacements level stiffs that take away roster spots.

Wilbur Miller

I’m convinced they do that to keep their payroll at some (extremely low) floor to help defend against grievances.

b mcferren

our role in the league is to introduce rookies and serve as a place where players who need to bounce back can find at bats or innings to pitch

Last edited 1 month ago by b mcferren
Wilbur Miller

The Pirates are a halfway house for has-beens and never-wases transitioning back to the world.

b mcferren

just as much as the Angels´ role in the league is to overpay veterans who have contributed to the marketing success of the league so they can relax before retirement

b mcferren

you have to recognize that the league is just as complicit in the cheapness of this team

the only reason that they don´t interject is because our owner´s cheapness fits into their business plan

Wilbur Miller

I’m perfectly OK with blaming both. Rob ‘n Bob the Baseball Killers.


Sure looks like Reynolds almost certainly has to be dealt for an outfielder, catcher and a pitcher.

Tony Pena Trade.

Bucs have loads of shopping to do here.

“Seven years and still sober. Time to change to something stronger.”*


*Not a Looney Tunes quote. Can anyone tell me where the quote is from?


The 40-man churn is far from over. I’d say a minimum of 8 guys on there now won’t be there at the end of ST. One of them named Bryan Reynolds.


I think they have to keep him if they’re really serious about improving this team.


A team “serious” about improving doesn’t throw money, and most importantly, a MLB deal at Vince Velasquez.


They’re not mutually exclusive.


Do you think we’ll be contending by 2024-25? A LOT of things have to go right for THAT to happen. 2023 will be another losing season, probably upper 80s/low 90s in losses. 2024 we MIGHT get to .500. So that leaves Reynolds in his walk year in 2025 if you think we have a shot at contention by then.


Depends on the “possible” adds, trades and free agents

It is time!!!!


LONG past time!

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