Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Roster Crunch

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Detroit Tigers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Right now the Pittsburgh Pirates have a bit of an outfield roster crunch, which is something that will need to be addressed before Opening Day

Looking at the 40-man roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates there are a few things that currently jump out. First off, the team has just two catchers on the 40-man roster. This is not uncommon. However, one of those catchers is highly touted prospect Endy Rodriguez who manager Derek Shelton has already said will start the season in the minor leagues.

Something else that jumps out is the team's outfield situation. Even though the team may need outfield help beofre Opening Day if Bryan Reynolds is traded, their 40-man roster is currently jam-packed with outfielders.

Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates have nine players designated as outfielders on their 40-man roster. This does come with a bit of an asterisk, though. Miguel Andújar and Tucupita Marcano are both designated as outfielders. This is despite Andújar most likely landing spot in 2023 being as a designated hitter and Marcano's as a utility man that sees him primarily serving as a backup infielder.

Even if you remove Andújar and Marcano from the equation, the Pirates still have seven outfielders on the 40-man roster. This is a high number, especially when there are multiple outfielders currently on the 40-man roster who are unlikely to play a role for the major league club in 2023.

Until he is traded, Reynolds is the team's center fielder. It appears right field will be a platoon between Jack Suwinski and Connor Joe, and Ji-Hwan Bae looks like the frontrunner to start in left field. In addition to these four, Cal Mitchell, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Ryan Vilade, and Travis Swaggerty are all on the 40-man roster as well.

It should be noted that Bae is currently listed as an infielder on the team's 40-man roster. But with what he has proven in the minors and showed in the majors last season it is hard to envision him not starting the season in the majors, his most likely home would be in the outfield.

All of this said, it creates the conversation about which outfielders should be taken off the 40-man roster. To be honest, it is a surprise that neither the Jarlín García nor the Rich Hill signing being made official led to an outfielder being taken off the 40-man roster.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will have to make at least one more 40-man roster move before Opening Day to make room for a backup catcher, likely Tyler Heieneman, there could also be a backup middle infielder added yet.

Swaggerty and Vilade would appear to be safe bets to be taken off the 40-man roster. It is clear this front office does not have long-term plans for Swaggerty, and Vilade lasting this long on the 40-man roster after being claimed off waivers earlier this offseaosn is a bit of a surprise.

Next. 2023 Prospect Outlook: Canaan Smith-Njigba. dark

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have a 40-man roster log-jam of outfielders. It appears to be a safe bet that Swaggerty and Vilade could be the next two players taken off the 40-man roster when spots need to be cleared. This would help to clean up the outfield log-jam.