It’s time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to make a change to their 25-man roster
Currently, the Pirate roster is not even. They are carrying 8 relievers and 4 bench players instead of the usual 7 relievers and 5 bench players. This is due to Antonio Bastardo being activated off the disabled list earlier this week, and Jacob Stallings being optioned to Triple-A as the corresponding move.
This is a roster configuration that tends to hurt National League clubs. With one of the bench players being the backup catcher, this essentially makes it a 3 man bench. This can make it difficult to pinch hit early in games, as Pirate fans saw last night when Gerrit Cole was forced to bat with 2 outs, the bases loaded, and the Pirates leading 3-2 in the bottom of the 4th inning.
To get the bench back to 5 players, Antonio Bastardo should be shown the door. While he has done some good work during his time in Pittsburgh over the course of 3 seasons, that good work has come to a crashing halt.
In 2015 Antonio Bastardo was a key cog in a Pirate bullpen that helped to power a 98 win season. He averaged 10.05 K/9, posted a 3.33 FIP, and allowed just 39 hits and 4 home runs in 57 1/3 innings pitched. After returning to the Pirates at the trade deadline last year he averaged 10.50 K/9 and posted a 3.94 FIP in 24 innings pitched.
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After his success the past 2 seasons with the Pirates it appeared that Bastardo would be a solid left-handed reliever in the bullpen in 2017. However, this has not been the case at all. Instead, Bastardo has been one of the worst relief pitchers in all of baseball.
Bastardo has pitched 6 2/3 innings this season. He has allowed 15 hits, 4 home runs, and he has walked 8 batters. This includes walking the only hitter he faced last night in his first game since coming off the disabled list. He now owns a 17.55 ERA, 13.04 FIP, and a 9.79 xFIP this season.
Antonio Bastardo adds nothing to the Pirate bullpen and should no longers be on the roster. If the Bucs still want an 8 mam bullpen, would be better served to replace him with A.J. Schugel. Also, they could promote Steven Brault to either pitch in the pen or put him in the rotation bumping Chad Kuhl to the bullpen.
What they should do, though, is get back to a 5 man bench. To do this they should designate Bastardo for assignment and promote infielder Gift Ngoepe from Triple-A Indianapolis. Regardless of the corresponding move, Antonio Bastardo has to go.