Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned two players to their alternative training site in Altoona to get their roster down to 28 players before Thursday afternoon’s deadline to do so
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, MLB teams started the 2020 season with 30 players on their active roster. They have until noon ET on Thursday (August 6) to trim their roster to 28 players. The Pittsburgh Pirates trimmed their roster down on Wednesday night.
Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have optioned INF/OF Jose Osuna and outfielder Guillermo Heredia to their alternative training site in Altoona. Obviously, the name here that makes waves is Osuna.
Osuna is a favorite of many Pittsburgh Pirates fans. This is despite being a below average hitter in his career owning a lifetime .243/.283/.431 slash line to go with a 85 wRC+. This season, Osuna was slashing .158/.238/.316 with a 57 wRC+.
While Osuna was a terrific pinch hitter in 2019, leading MLB in pinch hit home runs, the need for pinch hitters with the universal designated hitter has dropped drastically. Furthermore, Osuna has minor league options remaining. This is always a factor in these decisions as well.
As for Heredia, that decision was a bit of a no brainer. He has always struggled in his career offensively, and was hitting for just a .188/.278/.188 slash line to go with a 42 wRC+ this season. That type of offensive production is not enough to justify keeping Heredia around, despite his defensive prowess. This became especially true when JT Riddle, who can also play center field, returned from the injured list on Wednesday.
Now, people may be wondering why the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned out two position players and no relievers. Especially with relievers such as Miguel Del Pozo and Yacksel Rios are in the bullpen. Well, right now, the bullpen is taxed and riddled by injuries. Combine that with JT Brubaker being scheduled to make his first career start on Thursday and it being unclear how deep he can go, the team needs all the bullpen arms they can get right now.
Originally, MLB teams were going to need to trim their rosters down to 26 players on August 20. However, due to coronavirus outbreaks with the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, active rosters will now remain at 28 for the remainder of the season.