As Randy noted in the game thread yesterday, the Pirates made a number of roster moves on Tuesday:
Designated RHP Masumi Kuwata for assignment; Purchased the contract of INF/OF Matt Kata from Triple-A Indianapolis; Placed C/OF Ryan Doumit on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist and transferred LHP Zach Duke from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list; Purchased the contract of Carlos Maldonado from Triple-A Indianapolis.
So, we’re left with something like this:
Catcher: Ronny Paulino, Josh Phelps, Carlos Maldonado
Infield: Adam LaRoche, Phelps, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Jose Bautista, Jose Castillo, Cesar Izturis, Matt Kata
Outfield: Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, Bautista, Castillo
Starting Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, Paul Maholm, Matt Morris, Tony Armas, Shane Youman
Relief Pitcher: Matt Capps, Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, Shawn Chacon, John Grabow, Franquelis Osoria, Youman
And those players will be used, presumably, like this:
- Maldonado is the new version of Humberto Cota. He’ll rot on the bench as an emergency catcher in case Jim Tracy burns his new favorite son, Josh Phelps, as a pinch hitter early in a game. It’s looking more and more like Phelps is going to play a big role as a utility guy on next year’s team.
- Bautista will likely see a considerable amount of time in right field while Xavier Nady’s hamstring heals. I would be surprised if X doesn’t land on the disabled list soon. Castillo, Izturis and Kata should see time at third, unfortunately.
- One out of Armas and Youman will be bumped to the bullpen; the wise move would be to banish the old guy who the team’s not going to re-sign (no matter how well he’s performing), so that probably means the Bucs will opt to stick Youman in the mop-up role. Anticipate the worst, hope for the best.
- Paulino, LaRoche, Sanchez, Wilson, Bay and McLouth will be starting on a near-daily basis.
Those moves lead to the conversation Nancy started yesterday at Sandlot Swashbucklers:
Suppose YOU were the Director of Player Development for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Itís getting close to September 1st, when the major league team can expand its roster. Youíre about to have a talk with Piratesí General Manager Dave Littlefield regarding player call-ups.
Which players will you recommend be brought up to the Pirates? Why?
With so much scrap on the 25-man roster, there’s plenty of room for guys like Steve Pearce, Brian Bixler and Jesse Chavez. The problem is those three aren’t on the 40-man roster, so the Bucs would need to make room for them. And the even bigger question: Are they ready to play in the show?
With the Bucs on pace for a third consecutive 67-95 season, what roster moves do you make over the course of the remainder of the season in order to set yourself up for 2008?
Clearly it’s hard to get excited about a bad lineup that’s getting worse with every passing day.
UPDATE: Just a quick link, all. Joe Janish from MetsToday.com asked me a few doom-and-gloom questions about the Bucs, and I answered them here. Kind of ties in with this morning’s post, I guess:
1. As a fan, how do you approach the rest of the season knowing the Bucs have no chance at all in making the playoffs? …
2. Last year the Pirates had an outstanding second half that was supposed to spill over in 2007. If the Buccos were to play, say, .600 ball from here on out, would you buy into the idea (again) that it was a sign of good things to come in 2008?
3. Are Dave Littlefield and/or Jim Tracy on the hot seat?
Thanks to Joe, and again, you can check out my answers to those questions at MetsToday.