When the Pittsburgh Pirates resume play on Thursday evening in Cincinnati, the team could be doing so with some reinforcements to their roster
Due to the St. Louis Cardinals continuing to deal with a coronavirus outbreak, the Pittsburgh Pirates were off on Monday. They will also be off on Tuesday and Wednesday, before returning to play at 6:10 PM EST on Thursday.
When the team returns to play on Thursday, they will do so against the Reds at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. When the team returns to action on Thursday, they may be doing it with some reinforcements.
First off, it appears closer Keone Kela is close to rejoining the team.
Reading the tea leaves, it appears Kela will rejoin the team on Thursday. Kela has not pitched yet this season due to testing positive for the coronavirus. This will be a massive boost for a bullpen that has struggled mightily this season. It would also give Kela to try and build up as much trade value as possible before the August 31st trade deadline.
The other wave of reinforcements the Pittsburgh Pirates could get on Thursday are a bit different than Kela. That is because this wave of reinforcements could be of the prospect variety.
By Thursday, the 2020 MLB season will be more than 20 days old. This means that prospects can be promoted to the Majors without team’s losing a year of control. Due to this, it is possible that Blake Cederlind and Ke’Bryan Hayes could soon join the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As we mentioned above, the Pirate bullpen is struggling. Cederlind is the top relief pitching prospect in the organization, and had he not tested positive for the coronavirus during summer camp he may have made the team out of camp.
With this season being about the future, getting Cederlind into the bullpen ASAP makes all the sense in the world. Cederlind has a 100+ MPH fastball with sink and could be a dominant high leverage arm in the bullpen. The sooner Cederlind starts to cut his teeth against MLB hitters and prepare for his future with the Pittsburgh Pirates the better.
As for Hayes, he is another player that may have made the roster out of summer camp if not for a positive coronavirus test. Hayes, like Cederlind, has been working out in Altoona the past few weeks, and has to be close to being game ready.
Being the third baseman of the future, the sooner Hayes joins the Pirate starting line up the better. Now that years of control will not be an issue, plus the injury to Evans, the Hayes era may begin sooner rather than later.
Also, let’s make no bones about it, not only could the Pirates promote Cederlind and Hayes to the active roster, it is something they should do. As we have discussed at length the past few months, 2020 is about building for the future. If all goes according to plan, both Cederlind and Hayes will be big parts of the Pirate future. So, the sooner they start to see regular MLB action the better.