On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates added five players to their 40 man roster in order to protect them form next month’s Rule 5 Draft
5 PM on Wednesday afternoon was the deadline for MLB teams to add minor league players to their 40 man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. With this, new Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington had his first course of action as the team’s new GM.
Cherington, with the help of assistant Kevan Graves and minor league director Larry Broadway, chose five players to add to the 40 man roster. These five players were third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, shortstop Oneil Cruz, first baseman Will Craig, and pitchers Blake Cederlind and Cody Ponce.
Entering Wednesday the Pirates had 39 players on their 40 man roster. Due to this, in order to add five players to their 40 man roster, four had to come off. This led to the team designating four players for assignment. These four players were all pitchers – Dario Agrazal, Luis Escobar, Montana DuRapau, and Williams Jerez.
None of the players added to the 40 man roster come as a surprise. Hayes and Cruz are arguably the team’s top two prospects, and two of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. If all goes according to plan, Hayes will be the team’s starting third baseman at some point in 2020.
While I am not as high on Craig as others, he has hit for impressive power in the minor leagues and will likely make his MLB debut at some point in 2020. Both Cederlind and Ponce are intriguing relief pitcher prospects. With the exception of Cruz, each of the players that were protected are likely to make their MLB debut at some point during the 2020 season.
Each of the four players that were designated for assignment spent time at the MLB level for the Pirates in 2019. However, each of them struggled in their time with the Bucs. In fact, this is the second consecutive offseason in which Agrazal has been designated for assignment.
The Pirates 40 man roster is now full. So, in order to add anyone to it via free agency, a waiver claim, or a trade that does not send someone on the 40 man roster to the other team involved in the deal, the Pirates will have to take someone off the 40 man. This is just the start of a busy offseason for Cherington and the Pirate front office.