Luplow, Stallings Among Pirates Roster Moves

Bucs GM hasn’t decided yet if they will go with 12 or 13 pitchers.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 24, 2018 - 10:42 am
Jordan Luplow

93.7 the Fan

Three players with major league experience were sent down on Saturday as the Pirates trimmed their roster by four.

Outfielder Jordan Luplow and catcher Jacob Stallings were optioned to Triple A Indianapolis and right-handed relievers Richard Rodriguez and Tyler Jones were reassigned to minor league camp.

“Be ready,” GM Neal Huntington said of his message to those players.  “Be that guy that gets called up.  All of our young players, the challenge becomes if they start thinking they aren’t in the picture until next year and the opportunity is ready now.  They won’t be ready to seize it.”

The 24-year-old Luplow hit four homers this month and hit three with the Pirates last season.  Huntington said the Corey Dickerson signing impacted him and they still like him a lot after a good camp. Basically they just want him to go down and play every day.

“We reminded him where he was a year ago and that was in minor-league camp.  He came over and Kimera Bartee remembered the at bat where he turned (Boston ace) Chris Sale around and opened some eyes.  But he wasn’t in major league camp.  And so a year later to be one of the last send-outs from major league camp, the growth he had over the last year, the maturation as a player.  It’s exciting to think about what the next steps are for him.”

Huntington said he wouldn’t have an issue calling on Stallings if the need arises for another catcher.  The 28-year-old hit .368 this spring with no strikeouts.

"He continues to improve offensively,” Huntington said.  “He continues to shine defensively in terms of his blocking, his game-calling, the throwing continues to get better.  We have complete comfort he can come up and do the job for us.”

The 28-year-old Rodriguez was signed as a minor-league free agent after spending most of last year with Norfolk, Baltimore’s Triple A affiliate.   Rodriguez made eight appearances in camp, giving up three runs in just over seven innings with a walk and nine strikeouts.

Jones is also 28, and is the only player without major league experience.  Jones was a Rule 5 pick of Arizona in 2017, but was returned to the Yankees last March.  Jones was clean all Grapefruit League until giving up two runs to Boston on Tuesday and two more to the Phillies on Friday.

Huntington said they are still working through whether to start with 12 or 13 pitchers for Thursday in Detroit.

The Bucs GM said free agent signee and lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist has had solid results and while the fastball was slightly better in his last appearance on Friday, he’s not where he was last year at this time.

“Working through how ready he is going to be on Opening Day to potentially help a major league team or is there some more time that he and we would benefit from potentially in Triple A,” Huntington said.  “As he continues to build arm strength, as he continues to refine his weapons.  That’s a decision as we go forward here.”

“The Opening Day roster is the Opening Day roster, but it could be very different because of injury or because of need before we get to May 1st.”