Recent waiver acquisitions Chad Beck and Ali Solis may or may not still be in the organization by the time the Pirates set their 40-man roster in advance of the December Rule 5 draft; such is the nature of waiver claims. Their acquisition does, however, open the door to the discussion of what the Pirates will try to find during the winter.
Catcher will likely rank at or near the top of the list. So will starting pitching, and the Pirates will probably find a reliever or two somewhere. What I think will be interesting is to see what they do with the corner outfield positions and first base. They theoretically have pieces – Garrett Jones Gaby Sanchez, Travis Snider, Starling Marte, Alex Presley, Jose Tabata – but how much do they trust any of them to play on a regular basis? Will they continue to rotate them and play the matchups or commit to one?
Soon after the World Series concludes, these issues will start to play themselves out, as will the Pirates’ decision on Rod Barajas’ option and whether or not to try to re-sign Jason Grilli.
A quick note on the impact of the Pirates’ military-style training methods: The key will be to see if amateur players give the Pirates a higher signing bonus request than they give other teams, or prepare to go to college if the Pirates draft them, because of a reticence to participate in these drills or any other aspect of the Pirates’ player development system.
The sense I got from some conversations Thursday was that the industry perception of the drills is about what you’d expect: fitting with the Pirates' emphasis on doing things their way; unorthodox but not unprecedented; comical. If it starts to affect the way potential draft picks perceive the franchise, however, then it is no longer what the Pirates say is an attempt to mentally prepare young players, as Neal Huntington told Michael Sanserino in September, but a negative force impinging upon a process important to this franchise’s progress. It will force the front office to weigh its benefits against potential costs in the draft.
In today’s Post-Gazette: Pirates add two players via waivers.
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