With a glut of middle infielders on their 40-man roster and in the upper minors, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be facing some roster decisions between now and the start of next season
The Pittsburgh Pirates, yet to complete their rebuild, are starting to run into a problem. The problem is that the team might have too many middle infielders. Currently, the Pirate 40-man roster includes infielders Ji Hwan Bae, Liover Peguero, Alika Williams, Oneil Cruz, Vinny Capra, Jared Triolo, and Tucupita Marcano.
While Cruz and Marcano are hurt, they also have Nick Gonzales in the minors, with prospects like Termarr Johnson, Mitch Jebb, Yordany De Los Santos, Tsung-Che Cheng, and others still developing. The Pirates are starting to run into the problem that most of these players are solely second basemen and shortstops, which means they will have to change positions or risk being held down for too long, potentially hurting their long-term ability to develop against major league pitching.
While an obvious answer would be to cut or trade some of them, it would just be a waste of talent. Recognizing this issue, the Pirates have started to adjust by drafting pitchers. However, this still puts into question the thought process of management.
Currently, they are trying to redevelop Miguel Andújar's career instead of using a prospect such as Gonzales or Triolo in the majors. This makes it even more questionable that they aren't trying to use a younger prospect with a higher ceiling. With Cruz and Marcano returning next season, the question remains: who will be the odd men out?
It seems likely that the three players Ben Cherington would be willing to move on from would be Williams, Andújar, and Capra. But that would bring up even more questions about why you trade for them or claim them off waivers.
While Andújar can play outfield too, and Capra can play third base, Williams has only played shortstop, which would go back to Cruz upon his return, unless the ankle injury he suffered earlier this season limits his ability to do so.
Furthermore, Termarr Johnson is arguably the best second base prospect in all of baseball. So, at some point in the coming years, a spot will need to be made on the major league roster for Johnson as well.