Pittsburgh Pirates: Jake Marisnick Should Not Rejoin the Roster

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 24: Jake Marisnick #41 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 24, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 24: Jake Marisnick #41 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 24, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Even though the Pittsburgh Pirates need a legitimate fourth outfielder on their MLB roster, rehabbing veteran Jake Marisnick is not the answer

The Pittsburgh Pirates have fallen back into a trap that has plagued that at times in recent years. They are using a non-outfielder as their fourth outfielder. In recent weeks Diego Castillo, who is a tremendous defensive infielder but struggles in the outfield, has been the team’s fourth outfielder.

Having Castillo serve in this role is not fair to him or the pitching staff of the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the team needs to get a legitimate fourth outfield on the roster, the answer is not veteran Jake Marisnick who could return from the injured list this week.

Marisnick is on the 60-day injured list after undergoing thumb surgery earlier this season. While the veteran outfielder was playing his typical strong defense prior to the injury, he was struggling offensively with just a 14 OPS+, 12 wRC+ and a 25% strikeout rate.

These offensive results are, well, horrible. He has 31 plate appearances during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis, hitting for just a .250/.323/.321 slash line to go with a 78 wRC+ in these 31 PAs.

Sure, the Pittsburgh Pirates need a fourth legitimate outfielder on their roster to go with Ben Gamel, Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski. The answers to this, however, does not include Marisnick.

The Pirate need for outfield help is should be answered differently than with Marisnick. What the Pirates should do is recall either Travis Swaggerty or Cal Mitchell to the major league level. Both Swaggerty and Mitchell have hit the ball well since be optioned back to Triple-A and both deserve a second opportunity in the majors.

To make room for one of these players the Pirates should designate Josh VanMeter for assignment. VanMeter has struggled mightily this season with a .195/.265/.317 slash line and a 65 wRC+. VanMeter has also played poor defense at second base. At this point he is added nothing productive to the Pirate roster and should be removed from it.

Some people may be wondering why Bligh Madris was not mentioned in this conversation. Well, the Pirates need that outfield help ASAP. Due to just being optioned to the minors late last week Madris can not yet return to the majors as he has not spent at least 15 days in the minors yet. He is a player who also deserves another MLB opportunity at some point this season.

While Marisnick may be ready to return from the injured list this week, it is a return that should not happen. Marisnick should simply be designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. At this point he has nothing to provide to the organization.

Reynolds will play every day in center field and Suwinski has played his way into every day playing time on a corner spot. Gamel should continue to play on the other corner spot every day until he is traded at the end of the month, and when Gamel is moved one of Swaggerty, Mitchell or Madris should then be getting every day playing time.

By the time Gamel is traded, rehabbing outfielder Greg Allen should be ready to re-join the Pirate roster. Allen could then become the fourth outfielder, a role he may be able serve in with the Pirates beyond this season.

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The rest of the season the Pittsburgh Pirates need to be playing for the future. Marisnick has no future with the organization and will not have any trade value to potentially help with the future. Due to this, Marisnick should be designated for assignment when he comes off the IL instead of rejoining the roster.