The Pirates will make a flurry of roster moves today. We don’t believe any of the position players involved will have an impact with the major league club six months from now. Nonetheless, let’s give our opinion on John Raynor, Ramon Vazquez, Steve Pearce, Hayden Penn, and Jack Taschner. We really think it comes down to Raynor and Vazquez. Yawn. We don’t see either making the impact the Pirates need in the first month to overcome the tough schedule.
John Raynor has stuck around for a reason. We’re just not sure what that reason is. He took poor angles today in the outfield. He recovered on a few to make dramatic Nate McLouth esque catches. His lackadasical throw on one play really mystified me. The Marlins don’t have anywhere for him to play. But Raynor hasn’t showed us enough to believe he will be a long term Pirate. Sorry, don’t see it. We’ve heard the Marlins wouldn’t mind having him back, and a deal could be worked out for some pitching. Certainly the Bucs don’t plan on biting on that deal.
So, it’s a different situation than Evan Meek a few years ago. A source close to the Meek transaction told me immediately following the Caravan that Meek had fell out of favor with Tampa Bay Rays. It was a smart move by the Pirates. I still can’t see Raynor making this roster unless the Pirates are convinced he can make a difference as a late inning defensive replacement with speed on the basepaths. Remember, Lastings Milledge said wrecking havoc on the basepaths will be the Pirates identity in 2010. So of the three position players involved, we say Raynor will stick if the Pirates can’t work out another waiver pickup or can’t swing a trade. But there is no way the Bucs can carry Raynor all season, so I don’t even like typing that prediction.
Ramon Vazquez is still on the roster this morning. We haven’t met a Pirate fan who understands why. The bench players named Bobby Crosby and Delwyn Young are better players. Crosby, who made it clear he came to Pittsburgh to win the SS job, is more versatile in our eyes. Young has the best bat of the three. How Vazquez makes the roster will be a mystery. Cut him or move him for a case of paint for the bleacher seats.
Steve Pearce will be sent to Indy. I would keep him around over Raynor and Vazquez. Simply because Pearce could come off the bench and stroke a fastball into the gaps, or better yet, take a few deep. Raynor and Vazquez can’t do that, but it certainly seems the window for Pearce is closing as Jeff Clement continued his hot end to the spring.
We think RHP Hayden Penn will make the club along with LHP Jack Taschner. Penn has impressed the Pirate brass to stick for now. Penn needs to get his shit figured out. Taschner has been the exact opposite. He’s healed. If you get a chance, listen to the Rocco podcast from yesterday’s postgame. Taschner talks about the changes he made and how suprised he was with the result.