Pittsburgh Pirates: Early Look at Potential Rule 5 Draft Related Roster Moves
By Noah Wright
Players to be removed from the roster
There are plenty of names on the Pittsburgh Pirates current 40-man roster who should be could be designated for assignment between now and when Rule 5 decisions will need to be made. Let’s get some of the easy names out of the way first. Kevin Padlo, Josh VanMeter, Greg Allen, Jose Godoy, Eric Stout, Yohan Ramirez, and Jeremy Beasley are as easy calls as you can get.
The only noteworthy free agent currently on the active roster is Ben Gamel. Gamel is slashing only .244/.338/.372. With Suwinski and Swaggerty pushing for a recall to the majors, Cal Mitchell and Bligh Madris already in the majors, Canaan Smith-Njigba returning next season, and the multitude of other outfield prospects like Fraizer, Scott, and Gorski under consideration for a 40-man roster spot, the Pirates likely aren’t going to bring back a veteran platoon outfielder who only hits for about league average numbers.
Kevin Newman may be viewed as a potential trade candidate. Since returning from the injured list in early July, Newman has put up a .276/.311/.378 line with a .302 wOBA and 93 wRC+. While that is solid production from Newman, it’s still below average, with some worrying numbers below the hood. He’s striking out nearly 20% of the time with a 19.3% strikeout rate while still carrying a well below average walk rate (3.9%) and average exit velocity of 85.1 MPH. Newman is providing the Pirates with very good defense at second base, but with the multitude of middle infield prospects coming up the pipeline and already on the 40-man, Newman has to do more than good defense with a below-average bat to give the Pirates a reason to keep him around.
Newman has contract control on his side, and there is a team out there who has much less middle infield depth than the Pittsburgh Pirates, willing to give up something of value to deepen their 2B/SS picture. Newman isn’t valueless but has much more value on the trading block than as a part of the Pirate 40-man roster.
One last guy worth mentioning is Dillon Peters. Peters started the year on the right foot, reeling off 16.2 straight scoreless innings of work. However, his following 22 innings pitch have yielded a 7.94 ERA. His HR/9 in this time is 2.0 while having a strikeout rate well below 15% at 11.8% and a walk rate of 10%. Peters is a similar arm to both Cruz and McGough. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t need three soft-tossing lefties with a limited ceiling on the roster. There are better ways to utilize Peters current roster spot, even if that’s to get a fresh face like Cruz or McGough into the pen.