Pittsburgh Pirates: Deadline to Protect Players From Rule 5 Draft Looming

Indianapolis' Travis Swaggerty (1) tosses a ball to a fan during the Indianapolis minor league baseball team home opener vs. Toledo on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Victory Field.
Indianapolis' Travis Swaggerty (1) tosses a ball to a fan during the Indianapolis minor league baseball team home opener vs. Toledo on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Victory Field. /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates must finalize their 40-man roster and protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft by Friday

Entering the offseason we knew the Pittsburgh Pirates were going to have to make may roster decisions regarding the Rule 5 Draft. As of writing this, the Pirates currently have 49 total players that will enter the Rule 5 Draft as being eligible to be selected.

A handful of those are organizational depth players such as Dylan Busby, Connor Kaiser, Cam Vieux, and Matt Eckelman who aren’t going to be selected and even if they are, aren’t a big loss. But there are a ton of prospects that the Pittsburgh Pirates will need to add before the end of today.

There are a few locks to make the 40-man roster. The most notable being outfield prospects Travis Swaggerty, who MLB Pipeline named the toughest Rule 5 decision the Pirates have to make, and Canaan Smith-Njigba, shortstop prospect Liover Peguero, and likely pitching prospect Omar Cruz. They’re all likely among the top candidates to get a 40-man roster spot.

They also have a ton of players that will be in serious consideration for a 40-man spot. Tahnaj Thomas, who we recently covered with his 40-man roster case, outfielders Jack Suwinski, Lolo Sanchez, and Cal Mitchell, as well as pitchers Eddy Yean, Cody Bolton, Yerry De Los Santos, and Santiago Florez could all be in the running for 40-man roster spots.

Among that group, Suwinski and Thomas likely take higher priority. Suwinski was putting up solid numbers at Double-A and Thomas would almost certainly be selected. The Pirates can’t lose Thomas for nothing.

Adding a ton of players means that they’ll need to remove a ton of players from the 40-man roster. Jared Oliva, Cody Ponce, Eric Hanhold, Sam Howard, Anthony Banda, and Greg Allen are all potential DFA candidates. The Pirates may try and trade some of their Rule 5 eligible prospects like Mitchell or Bolton, or a player with major league experience like Kevin Newman or Duane Underwood Jr.  Currently, there are 3 40-man roster spots open, but they’ll likey open more up and add new players.

Next. Rum Bunter Radio: 40-Man Preview & AFL Talk. dark

Pirate fans should anticipate many different roster moves being made between now and Friday afternoon. It should be an active day for transactions throughout the league, especially for the Bucs.

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