What Happened to Pittsburgh Pirates Rule 5 Roster Crunch?


The Pittsburgh Pirates

have added the following six minor leaguers to their 40-man roster:  outfielder Starling Marte, infielders Jordy Mercer and Matt Hague.  The Bucs added pitchers Rudy Owens, Duke Welker, and Justin Wilson.

A couple names that might surprise you as missing from the list are Diego Moreno, Aaron Pribanic,  and Andrew Lambo.  Maybe you have a few more, I think each of us does.  After all, just a couple of years ago, we were concerned that the Pirates had an abudance of talent.  The Rule 5 draft was going to be a day when the Pirates farm system would be picked through like craft beers in the singles cooler of your favorite six pack shop.

It looks like all of us thought wrong.   As we look over the remaining players that could be picked up, it’s rather doubtful the Pirates could lose anyone.  It’s a thought that was damn near impossible to imagine a couple of years ago.

Lambo is still rather young.  It worries us slightly that another team might take a shot on him.  It wouldn’t be too difficult for a team to try and keep him on their roster if they really like his talents and believe in him.

We read last year about some scouts simply not buying Lambo any longer.  It looks like the Pirates don’t buy it either.  That sucks.  Obviously, the Pirates know their talent better than we do, so perhaps they have already given up.

The struggle for the Bucs would be if a team does select a prospect like Lambo.  Let’s say that in a perfect world, he is on their roster for a few months, but plays sparingly.  The team ships him back to Pittsburgh, and is considerably behind in his development.

Cross your fingers.  We doubt that scenario happens, but I guess the real shame is two fold.  One, the fact that he hasn’t developed like many felt he would and two, because of the question marks, the Pirates are left in such a situation where a player who really needs AAA time might not see it.

The Pirates made room on their roster by designating Eric Fryer and Xavier Paul for assignment.  Fryer is a little questionable for me, but I doubt he will get picked up over the next ten days.

Earlier in the day the Pirates blew my mind when they picked up two players who are likely going to be depth for the organization.  The team claimed catcher Brian Jeroloman from the Blue Jays and right-hander Jeremy Hefner from the Padres.

Neither player the Bucs picked up has played in the bigs.

Jeroloman is 26 years old.  He actually managed to not be an offensive weapon while catching for Triple-A Las Vegas.   Look at these putrid numbers:  79 games, .240 average with nine doubles and two bombs.  He hasn’t managed to hit over .250 in his minor league career.  He walked a ton in A ball, but now he simply struggles.

(If you have a child, teach them to be a catcher. It just might pay dividends down the road)

Hefner was named the 2008 Padres minor league pitcher of the Year.  He played in the PCL which is known to inflate the statistics of pitchers, but despite the positive vibes being sent about these players, we see them in AAA in 2012.

But I guess the real slap in the face is that we expected a roster crunch by now.  It simply hasn’t happened.  On a day when the Pirates should have been pulling their hair out to decide who to add from a stacked minor league system to their 40-man roster…. the team grabbed two non-prospects from other organizations.

It’s mind numbing.

The Rule 5 draft is December 8.

Despite the fact that most are coming off shitty seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Pirates player picked in the Rule 5.  Maybe a player like a Diego Moreno, Aaron Pribanic, Brian Leach or Andrew Lambo.  Then again, consider this.  If the Pirates own prospects aren’t good enough to be added to the roster today—on a day when the Bucs grabbed a swing and miss AAA catcher and a PCL inflated pitcher, maybe like that amber lager that never gets grabbed out of the beer cooler, the Bucs prospects just aren’t that good.

That sucks.

Now about that amber lager….