It's been a while since we looked at the potential opening-day roster. And it'll be relevant for, oh, a day or so, until a trade or signing wrecks the whole thing, but it could be instructive as the team heads into spring training. Which will further throw the roster for a loop. This is an estimate based on what we currently know and there are several spots, specifically the final couple in the bullpen and the final roster spot, that are far from certain.
1. Russell Martin
2. Garrett Jones. It doesn't sound like the Pirates will trade him unless they feel they get more than fair value, and a 31-year-old who can't hit lefties and plays below-average defense is unlikely to bring more than fair value.
3. Neil Walker
4. Clint Barmes
5. Pedro Alvarez
6. Starling Marte. Indications from Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle are that the Pirates will begin the season giving Marte the majority of playing time in left field and letting him figure it out. That could change if he really struggles, especially if the Pirates are in contention.
7. Andrew McCutchen
8. Travis Snider. The Marte situation applies to Snider as well, though Jones will undoubtedly steal time.
9. A.J. Burnett
10. Wandy Rodriguez
11. James McDonald. He will stay in the rotation regardless of his second half because of the talent he displayed in the first.
12. Jeff Locke
13. Kyle McPherson
14. Jason Grilli
15. Mark Melancon
16. Jared Hughes
17. Tony Watson
18. Vin Mazzaro. He's out of options and the Pirates hope he can parlay his stuff into a relief role.
19. Justin Wilson. All signs point to Wilson appearing out of the pen despite a desire to start. He could provide a left-handed complement to Watson.
20. Bryan Morris. Morris is also out of options, and has done about all he can do in Indianapolis.
21. Michael McKenry
22. Gaby Sanchez. The Pirates believe in Sanchez. They parted with a draft pick to get him, and they think he can platoon with Jones successfully at first base.
23. Josh Harrison. Hurdle loves his versatility.
24. Jose Tabata. Tabata is out of options, putting him ahead of Alex Presley.
25. Jordy Mercer. This could go several ways, but Hurdle likes someone else who can play shortstop so that Harrison can sub in elsewhere.
Which leaves off...
Presley. The only person I see him passing, barring injury, is Tabata.
Chris Leroux. I could see him being the long man, possibly replacing Mazzaro or Wilson.
Clint Robinson. Between Sanchez and Jones, room will be tough to find. He also has options.
Jerry Sands. Same thing.
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