Prior to Friday’s night game against the Detroit Tigers, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have optioned IF/OF Tucupita Marcano and outfielder Travis Swaggerty to Triple-A Indianapolis. The two moves leave the Pirates with 38 players on their active Spring Training roster. Opening Day is next Thursday.
The 25-year-old Swaggerty hit well this spring, putting up a .379/.471/.690 slash line in 34 plate appearances over 19 games. He debuted in the majors last year, going 1-for-9 with a single and no walks in five games. He batted .254/.348/.400 in 107 games with Indianapolis in 2022.
The 23-year-old Marcano had a rough spring, going 4-for-27, with a double and five walks, giving him a .466 OPS. He batted .206/.256/.306 over 49 games for the Pirates last year. He had an .831 OPS over 57 games in the minors last year, splitting his time between Altoona and Indianapolis.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Based on Swaggerrty’s production so far I think it was immature to send him down at this juncture. He is their best defensive outfielder and was getting on base at a high rate. He is not a K king like others that will go north. So why do this now?
It is a bad decision to open the season with a below average fielding CF, and no one better on the bench. Makes no sense to move Reynolds out of CF for Suwinski who has not shown that he is faster, runs better routes, or has better arm strength than Reynolds. It seems obvious you go with Reynolds-Swaggerty-Suwinski, and then mix in CSN/Joe and Cutch. Our outfield defense is well below average as is currently constructed, because of the CF options remaining, it’s an unforced error.
Gotta assume Bae made the team with these moves as he’s the backup 2b and CF on the bench and I’m OK with that aspect of it. But I’d still take Swaggerty over Suwinski in a heartbeat. Defense doesn’t matter too much at 1b or RF but it’s way more than half the battle when playing center.
If you can’t let a 25 y.o. at a position of need play, WTF is the organization even attempting to do????
Prepare to compete in 2024.
If he comes up in 3 weeks we get an entire YEAR of control.. and Cutch, Reynolds and Suwinski are going to start until one falters.
Yeah it ain’t a year of control thing with Swags.
Reynolds will be starting somewhere long after the Pirates falter which will be by mid-may at which time Shelton will have left a starter or reliever in to long or not long enough about 20 times, lol.
I’ll bet my last dollar the front office has given less thought about controlling Travis freakin Swaggerty for the 2029 season than you have.
Whenever the question comes down to “are they stupid or evil?” just assume the answer is stupid.
There’s a third choice that explains most things: they’re cheap.
In this case though, I’ll go with stupid.
The line between smart/efficient and cheap/stupid is thicker than most folks realize, though. The problem is that the demand for smart outstrips the supply.
I don’t think that years of control matter. He is just behind others in the pecking order. The options are play a couple of times a week here or every day there. I don’t necessarily like the move but if he hits, he will return.
If years of control determine the team’s view of a 25 y.o., I have serious doubts about that organization’s understanding of the aging curve when it comes to hitters.
We should all look forward to the opening day roster that BC/DS put together which will pretty much resemble the 2022 roster player wise except the names have been changed to protect the innocence.
This Pirates regime is so easy to hate. They’re anti-fun all the way down.
They’re worse than anti-fun. They’re provably stupid.
“I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE”.
Sorry, Network is playing on TCM.
Bottom of the ninth, one run lead, two on, two out, fly ball to the gap, and our excellent fielding late inning defensive replacement center fielder goes sprinting to the ball….oh right, he is in Indy and we don’t have an above average defensive center fielder on the big league roster.
Was going to say that’s a long butt run from Indy to the Burgh to catch a fly ball. Can only imagine the first time something like that happens early in the year. Assuming the Bucs have a one run lead in the ninth at some point.
I guess no one was pounding the table for TSwag? It seems like this front office doesn’t even give him a seat at the table for consideration. I’m surprised they let him play as much as he did this spring.
On the other move, I really love the name Tucupita but agree with his demotion. Any bets on which player might be promoted first?
but no, it was Mathias followed by Marcano.
You were waiting for that fastball down the middle, lol.
Since I gave up the cable and AT&T Sportsnet I won’t have to watch Reynolds or Suwinski not getting to those balls in the gap or getting there and watch it tick off their gloves after their long runs from bad jumps on their reads or watch them playing so deep that every single scores a guy from second or a guy gets a double on a single. Yeah, I’m going to miss those good times.
I don’t recall who wrote this but it was one of the ‘usual commenters.’ He was suggesting an opening day roster which didn’t include Swaggerty, who would be optioned to Indy for enough time to add another year until free agency eligibility. If that’s what’s happening, I’m all in. If that’s not what’s happening, WHAT?
Interesting comments about this year’s Spring Training darling with 9 career AB’s at the ML level. I’m pulling for Swaggs. I want him to be an All-Star CF for the Pirates, but is it a big deal having him start the season in AAA?
Yes, it is. He is playing well NOW, so you let him play and build some confidence if possible and ride that out. When he struggles, you can send him back down. What possible reason do you send down one of the few players actually hitting if you want to win in April? You send him to Indy….kill his motivation and his mojo, and then hope he recovers it sometime later this year right? Nope, it doesn’t work that way.
there are a million or even tens of millions of motivation left for swags
Hitting well in Spring Training. Where have we seen that before? It’s pretty meaningless. Given his lost playing time due to injuries and the covid year, I can see getting him more everyday reps at Indy, build on what he accomplished last year and if he does well, call him up.
Key is . . . key.
Idk……this is a different Key.
how about those away stats???
they just totally suck all the emotion out of the game
could careless about momentum and baseball magic
What does it matter? Our Prez just told us how much more wonderful the experience is going to be at PNC Park.
At NO time did he mention that watching the Bucs would be wonderful.
This decision is proof. Our best CFer was just sent to Indy. We are going to have one porous OF. But, they don’t care, so why should we?
Fun fact our catchers are hitting .105,.121, and .154. How is this possible.
My sources say that they are gonna sign Ivan Nova to DH for our catchers.
So they’re improving?
Seriously? You KNOW how this is possible!😵💫😵💫😵💫
More like Swagg offs, am I right? I’ll see myself out….
Me and 7 others say you’re right. Love it.
Up voted him just to make your math look bad!
It is up to 12 now.
A little more transparency needed, maybe?…
Swaggerty needed to be the starting CF. This was an unforced error by Cherrington.
I am not a Ben fan and this just reinforces my opinion of him.
I don’t agree with this move. However, if Swaggerty continues to hit I can’t see him not getting an opportunity this year. Cal Mitchell had several chances last year. Also, I can’t see McCutchen/Santana/Choi staying healthy for the entire season.
Dude, all that matters is March 31, season is over after that
Liked Swaggs to go North out of ST – he earned it, and good baseball people love to reward performance, sort of like a pat on the back saying “we believe in you”!
It’s not a Swaggs/Suwinski thing – Suwinski was at the right place at the right time and performing well at AA in April of 2022 when the Pirates called him up. Don’t think the Pirates ever dreamed it would go as well as it did in his first 60 days in the majors. Lots of positive PR. At the time they brought Suwinski up, Swaggs was struggling at AAA hitting .164.
Service time manipulation? Hard to think that in this case.
Yeah, can’t imagine this has anything to do with service time. He’s not the type of guy you would typically want to maintain control for his age 32 season.
It’s pretty clear the brain trust knew what it wanted going into spring training and weren’t going to deviate from that plan.
And while I absolutely think Swaggerty is one of the 4 best outfielders on the team, he’ll get plenty of chances as the season goes along.
Just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Is it possible Ben has some Reynolds offers in his back pocket he could do and if the pirates don’t get the extention contract numbers they like he’s gone?
What’s the other shoe? BR?
It seems like the formula for small markets to win is to play small ball well and to play great defense to make your pitchers better. The Pirates instead say screw defense year after year by playing guys out of position, and screw small ball, by having a bunch of .220 hitters. I’m sure the pitchers would love to have a solid defense behind them.
Ehh, just a paper move till Reynolds is traded. Or they clear a roster spot for a Josh Van Meter reunion.
If Andujar makes the roster over CSN I’m going to be fed up already by opening day.
No worries, Andujar is not in their plans. They DFAed him a month ago. He cleared waivers……that’s the only reason he’s still in the org.
To clarify my position, I think Suwinski should be on the roster–I agree with Shelton there. But the OF should be Reynolds, Swaggerty, and a platoon of Suwinski and Joe in RF. Give Suwinski the roster spot but make him prove he’s an everyday player while also ensuring that we have plus defense in the OF.
FA signing Cutch has to start in the OF. FA signing Santana has to start at DH/1B. Joe is probably on the bench most days vs RHP. Zero chance your preferred outfield is an opening day option w the vets we signed.
I, too, would’ve rostered Swaggerty but can we pleeeaaaase take a deep breath and appreciate the absurdity of believing that they are manipulating the service time of a 25 yo below average AAA hitter who couldn’t land a top 30 prospect spot in an average farm system and that doing so is jeopardizing the potential success of a team that by all accounts will almost certainly suck?
I. HATE. REBUILDS.
Oh, and Swaggerty is our Lars Nootbaar without the name.
No one said that.
Do you even read the posts…
Because defensively he is easily the best center fielder on the 40-man. Offensively he looked (not just the stats) great this spring training. Also because even with him hitting great, unlike CSN or Suwinski he wasn’t given a lot of playing time this last week, almost as if the FO didn’t want it to become obvious what was going to happen if Swaggerty continued to hit well. I was at the game a few days ago where they put him in late, and he hit the first pitch he saw 439 feet for a home run. And I laughed and thought “I hope that isn’t his “take that” response from just being told he wasn’t going to make the opening day roster”.
Have to ask yourself why Suwinski and CSN, and even Young, were given starts last week, while the best hitting outfielder of spring training was coming in, in the 7th inning. It simply looks like service time manipulation.
I really feel the best hitting outfielder this spring has been CSN. He has looked good even when he makes outs, and he has had a lot more chances early against the good pitchers. Swaggerty has looked good, but he has a lot more than CSN been coming in late where he has not always faced the top pitching. In spring training, you are not always facing the best pitching, especially when you are a late replacement. CSN has started twice the games Swaggerty has, and has seen much better pitching, but keeps hitting.
ok, so choose Suwinski over Swaggerty because last year is more important than spring training (both the eye test, and the stats, and the fact that Swaggerty is just a better defender), and then choose CSN over Swaggerty because last year doesn’t matter and it is all about spring training (and Swaggerty is a much better defender). I will stick to my service time theory, to reduce inconsistencies. Both Suwinski and Swaggerty should make the club, with Suwinski being platooned in right field, or at the least Swaggerty goes into center field late in games for defense reasons, assuming the team is trying to win games from March 31st on.
I am just saying that CSN has been the best hitter. Personally I would keep Swaggerty and CSN and send down Suwinski. Suwinski has looked terrible when I have seen him this spring, and yes he hit 19 homers last year, but it is not like there were not issues last year as well. He struck out at a 30% clip last year. Those strike outs are even worse when you consider he only had 5 strike outs in his first 29 ABs. I would keep Swaggerty, because he is the best defender, and they need to find out if his hitting is for real. I would keep him for a month, see how he is hitting and then either keep or send him down if he is not hitting. He is 25 now and they need to find out the real Swaggerty. I would keep CSN, because he has earned this Spring Training, and has looked impressive.
Now you’re doubling down by using spring training stats to justify your service time paranoia?!
Come on man!
what, did you read the post? sure the stats were great, but did you watch the at-bats? In very few at-bats did he look anything other than a major league hitter. But fine, what did you see in his at-bats that makes you think he deserved to be sent down compared to others?
Jared Shuster is on the cusp of earning an Opening Day spot in the Braves rotation specifically because he came into camp with a couple extra ticks of juice on his heater, an overhauled breaking ball, and an improved cambio while maintaining the stellar command he was previously known for. I know this because I’ve read several different outlets note what an impressive improvement he’s shown in skill, not how good he’s performed in games.
That is what development looks like.
I haven’t found a single article outlining the developmental improvements that either Swag or CSN have shown as means of achieving their spring performances.
I’ve watched an order of magnitude more at bats from Travis Swaggerty throughout his four minor league seasons than you did this spring training, and have followed baseball long enough to know which tends to be more predictive of future success.
Again, I would’ve rostered him! He’s long been a personal favorite. But I also don’t know why anyone would believe a few dozen spring at bats are any more instructive than what we saw of him as recently as six months ago, and the chances of the club for some reason changing their mind and deciding to manipulate his service time after already promoting him are just bonkers.
If you wanna make the argument he’s adjusted any number of things en route to improved performance, then I’m all ears!
Maybe he just improved his disposition after dealing with family garbage and covid before that costing him damn near a whole year. The last couple years have been far from normal and we don’t need a unicornish transformation here given his pedigree as a #1 pick. If he wasn’t already capable of this, he would have not been picked in that spot to begin with.
For his sake and ours I certainly hope so!
But your comment ignores his actual history as a #1 draft pick. This was a talented but flawed prospect in need of a swing overhaul. That was the report from Day 1.
I love dev stories, so if somebody wants to make the argument that he has in fact fixed what he needed then I’d be thrilled to hear it.
Mechanically there doesnt seem to be any changes to his swing to my (very) amateur scouting eye so I’m not sure what changed or how but his timing in the box is locked in right now. Simply put he’s barreling up the ball at the point where he can do the most damage with the pitch. His dingers are no doubters off the bat whereas in the past there was a heck of a lot more warning track power type doubles. This version of Swaggerty is what Huntington and company were seeing that he could become when they drafted him, a solidly above average player both at the plate and in the field. He just needs to stay healthy first and foremost but also locked in to show consistency and he will take the starting CF job and run with it for years.
“I love dev stories”
I would too if we ever had any.
I hate this, but after the idiotic comments Shelton made a couple of days ago about Suwinski it was predictable. This move makes no logical baseball sense at all so it’s nearly guaranteed to be about service time.
I’d like to see more evidence of a consistent plan. I’m on board with prioritizing defense at catcher, for example, even at the cost of offense. But then when it comes to CF, they seem to discount the value of defense. It makes me wonder if the reason they really liked Hedges’ defense is that defense is cheaper on the FA market instead of it being part of an overarching plan to build a team that excels in run prevention.
Maybe it is just about getting good players whether they excel in defense or offense, but I think I’d prefer a team with an identity whether that’s a team full of bashers or a team full of elite defenders. We’re just a mix heading into the season.
And in this case, I don’t understand then why bother moving Reynolds to left. They may very well open season with him back in CF, but why even bother then when Jack is likely to be minimally, if even, better in CF.
I’m hoping this is simply service time manipulation for Swaggerty.
It isn’t. Not even the Pirates would manipulate the service time of an average-ish outfielder who will already be 31 when he hits free agency…just so they can keep/leverage the season he turns 32. Nope.
We need guys to get on base for Cruz, Reynolds, catch, santana, so we can put up some crooked numbers, that’s why I like Bae over Castro too. I just don’t know, this is baseball, you need to excel in all faucets of the game. I just hope the starting pitching is excellent, I hope Keller, roanys, Bru, and hill have stellar starts, and burrows, priester, mlod, and even Jones breaks out and aren’t to far behind.
It seems their all in on jack suwinski in centerfield, so I guess they know what they are doing with that .360 winning %. I mean with all these great hitters they send swags and Gonzalez , and Endy to the minors. Is this yet another tank year?
This is some absolute bullshit. Hate this move, but it’s like this every year with the headscratching moves this organizational leadership makes. I don’t care if suwinski had a 3 homer game and 19 Homeruns last year, he needs to limit the strikeouts and hit for any kind of decent average. Suwinski should be down. Swags earned the look in the majors.
when is the service time manipulation date this year, for an extra year of service? I guess Swaggerty comes up soon after that date (have to account for the nine days he was up last year also, I guess).
Swaggerty is no where near valuable enough to the current front office for them to worry about his Super Two status. We’ll be very lucky if he performs well enough to stick around that long and make that a real issue
Super two yes. Giving up a whole year of control is totally different.
It’s not about the extra year it’s all about the super two money. He will be up in May.
ah yes of course everyone knows the long and vast history of 25 yo rookies breaking the bank with an extra year of arb makes perfect sense.
He’s better off trying to rob a bank.
The length of time is about three weeks for the extra year and two months to avoid Super Two. Unless there’s an injury, they need to give the guys who make the roster at least a month before sending them down. By then, though, they might as well wait until the Super Two deadline (unless Suwinski’s struggles making contact continue).
Given how Suwinski has looked plus the need for a good fielder in CF, keeping Swaggerty up and sending down Suwinski to work out his swing and miss issues just makes too much sense. And Swaggerty is 25. He won’t be a FA until 2029, his age 31 season already. So, the tradeoff is giving up a month of games on a flailing Suwinski in order to get an age 32 season – in his decline – out of Swaggerty. If there is any urgency to win games, you don’t make this move.
I can’t begin to express how disappointed I am in Shelton and Cherington for making this move.
shelton has nothing to do with this
Show me the ‘money’!
I’ll express it for you. They’re fuckin idiots!!!!
Guessing that if Swaggerty hits in AAA and Jack struggles to start there may be a change. How long is the leash?
Just trade Swaggerty already. This has gotten ridiculous
I mentioned this before that Pittsburgh is the place where prospects go to die or return from the dead! My problem with this is that by not giving Swags the chance to make or break as the opening day starter in center is that it just shows nothing has changed. The Pirates are basically giving their pitching the same terrible outfield defense they are use to. This is the point where I think they have too much control over these prospects career.
Yeah, I have a lot of feelings on it. Even the fact they could crush two OF prospects with Jack included, cause he’s got major swing and miss issues, coupled with putting him in a position defensively where his value will only likely decrease.
Opening the season without your best defensive option in a key defensive position is counter-productive especially on a team that has yet to prove it can score runs.
So he can be somebody else’s AAA centerfielder?
I don’t agree with demoting him at all but let’s be honest with ourselves, this is the worst part of being a Pirate fan. Getting worked about about choices between options that both have high probability of stinking.
To me the worst part of being a Pirate fan is reading or hearing other baseball fans say they feel for us whenever the Pirates make Pirates type moves. Even other NL Central fans don’t want to talk smack to Bucco fans anymore because they feel it’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed like fighting a five year old or something.
He’s a major league above average defender. That’s enough to be on at least 15 rosters by itself given his speed
Unfortunately not according to *current* scouting reports.
It appears the injuries have caught up to him, and it’s an open question how much he’ll be able to regain.
Your contrariness is boring.
Your mindless parroting of meaningless clichés is annoying.
Rather than go on another tirade, I’m just going to say I respectfully disagree
I’m going to go on the angriest rant on our podcast tonight lol after we finish the top 10 of course
Yeah. Anthony Murphy, Cody Potanko, and I have a Pirates podcast called: Two and a Half Gringos
Hate, hate, hate, hate!
Have me on again for a pirates version of the player hater ball.
We’ll have you on again!
I worry that when a manager isn’t held accountable for winning, then he’s free to pick his favorites without regard to their ability to help us win games. Maybe Swags isn’t fun enough to have around the clubhouse.
Shelton isn’t making these decisions!!
I’m as upset with Cherington as I am with Shelton, maybe more so. I think Cherington is helping make the roster decisions but, even worse, he’s the one who has allowed Shelton to get away with keeping it fun instead of winning.