Non-roster’s to make the ball club, Morton out of the bullpen?
With only two weeks until Pitchers and Catchers report to spring training, Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered fans questions in this weeks inbox (You can read the entire article here).
Of all the non-roster players invited to Spring Training, which ones probably have the best chance of sticking with the Bucs?
Let’s look at the position players first. Depending on whether the Pirates opt to carry three catchers or not, there will be two or three bench spots left to fill. You can already pencil in Ryan Doumit and one of Matt Diaz/Garrett Jones into two of the bench openings. That makes finding some backup infielders the immediate priority.
Corey Wimberly is an intriguing non-roster invite, in my opinion, because he has the versatility to play across the infield and outfield. His speed would be a major asset off the bench, and he has hit well at each Minor League level. Wimberly’s chances of making the roster will be directly affected by what the Pirates see in Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez.
It’s also looking like the Pirates’ backup corner infielder will come out of the non-roster invite list. Garrett Atkins, Josh Fields and Andy Marte are all candidates to win that spot. I might give Atkins the slight edge simply because he has proven himself at the Major League level and has a prior relationship with manager Clint Hurdle.
On the pitching side of things, the Pirates could be poised to add a number of non-roster players by the time Spring Training ends. Joe Beimel, who signed a Minor League deal on Friday, is almost a lock. With so many vacancies in the bullpen, look for Justin Thomas, Fernando Nieve, Sean Gallagher and Jose Veras to make pushes for open spots.
What do you think of Charlie Morton coming out of the bullpen?
While the Pirates are going to give Morton every chance to make the starting rotation, the club is ready to consider him for the bullpen as a fallback option. A large reason for that is because Morton is out of options and cannot be sent to the Minors without being exposed to other clubs on waivers. So if Scott Olsen wins the job as the team’s fifth starter, expect Morton to be fighting for one of the open spots in the ‘pen.