Pirates Could Keep an Extra Pitcher to Start the Season

GM Neal Huntington said they are discussing breaking camp with 13 pitchers.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 20, 2018 - 3:27 pm
Neal Huntington

93.7 the Fan

One of the perceived battles at the end of camp is for the final bench spot, turns out they may not even have it.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Tuesday they may shorten the bench at the start of the season to have a 13th pitcher.

“That is another option for us, we may carry an extra arm,” Huntington said.  “Given the depth of the arms and given the quality.  We’ve talked about wanting multiple innings out of our pen.  Brault and Glasnow, if they aren’t in the rotation, can provide that.”

Huntington said it’s something that would likely fluctuate between an extra bench player or pitcher depending on off-days or other circumstances.  Part of the reason for losing an extra bench player is the versatility of Sean Rodriguez, David Freese, Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison.

“The ultimate question becomes what has the biggest impact-the ability to pinch-hit in Osuna, Brentz or Luplow’s case, or the ability to maybe give us another inning in the middle or allow Clint to go get a starter or a reliever early,” Huntington said.

Not that Huntington makes those decisions lightly and he does take into consideration how this would affect the athlete.

“We do understand how hard it is for players to come up and go back,” Huntington said.   “It’s easy in a vacuum to say we will just bring a guy up and back every fifth day.  It’s hard to be that guy that comes up and back every 10th or 11th day.”

If the Pirates do carry an extra bench player, Huntington says they are still figuring out who it would be.  What we know at this point are the candidates, all right-handed hitters. 

Outfielder Bryce Brentz, who came over from Boston and is out of options and would be available to other teams if he doesn’t make the roster. 

First baseman, third baseman and corner outfielder Jose Osuna, who leads the team in RB!s this spring and outfielder Jordan Luplow, who hit his fourth homer against the Red Sox on Tuesday.

"We still like the power,” Huntington said when asked about Brentz having an inside track due to his options. “But with the camp that Osuna is having and his ability to play third, first and right.  With the camp that Jordan Luplow is now starting to have, struggled a little bit early, but is showing the signs that we have seen before.  We are going to have an interesting decision.”