Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Projecting Pirates Opening Day Roster

In light of the signing of Brandon Inge and the start of spring training, I find myself pondering the Pirates opening day roster. It appears Inge has a legit chance to make the team as a platoon option for Pedro Alvarez.

Russell Martin
Michael McKenry

Andrew McCutchen
Starling Marte
Travis Snider
Jerry Sands

Garrett Jones
Gaby Sanchez
Neil Walker
Clint Barmes
Pedro Alvarez
Brandon Inge
Josh Harrison

AJ Burnett
Wandy Rodriguez
James McDonald
Jeff Karstens
Francisco Liriano (if healthy)

Jason Grilli
Mark Melancon
Jared Hughes
Tony Watson
Bryan Morris
Chris Leroux
Justin Wilson

The Pirates schedule last season allowed the team to break camp with 4 starting pitchers (Burnett was on the DL). That won't be the case this year.

They also brought 7 relief pitchers north last season. The final few bullpen spots could change, but the important conclusion is how many there will be, not who they are.

Inge's signing looks like bad news for players like Clint Robinson, Jose Tabata and Alex Presley. Josh Harrison is a must to back up Barmes and Walker. Plus, he's versatile enough to play outfield, if needed. The Pirates broke camp last season with 4 outfielders, and there's not much reason to think things will be different this year if everyone is healthy.

In general, I like the current position players. There is no Nate McLouth or Matt Hague, whose roster spot appears questionable. Everyone here can be expected to contribute in a positive way. Hopefully, that's not a sign that a trade is imminent.