Pittsburgh Pirates Make Questionable Roster Decisions

By Jeff Moore
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

They are minor moves, but they can have major ramifications. More than anything, however, the smaller moves the Pittsburgh Pirates have made over the past few months simply don’t add up. In fact, they show a lack of an organizational plan.

At the trade deadline, the Pirates traded outfielder Gorkys Hernandez for first baseman Gaby Sanchez in a move that largely made sense for both teams. In the deal, however, the Pirates also acquired right-handed minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska and gave up a compensation found draft pick (typically somewhere in the 40’s overall).

Kaminska is a fringe prospect who doesn’t miss many bats but gets the most out of his abilities. Whether that type of player is worthy of a compensation pick is a different debate, but for whatever reason, the Pirates liked Kaminska and wanted to obtain him. That’s fine. At least it shows a plan.

In order to keep Kaminska, the Pirates knew he would need to be added to the 40-man roster. Wanting to get a further look at him, they then elected to use one of their seven Arizona Fall League spots on him. Again, we can question their commitment to such a middling prospect, but if they are choosing to send Kaminska to the AFL, there must be something about him that they really like. Still fine.

Kaminska pitched well in Arizona. In 28 innings of work,making six starts, Kaminska posted a 1.61 ERA and struck out 21 batters. His control was again impeccable, walking just four batters, and from all accounts, he was the same pitcher he was when the Pirates traded for him.

So to recap, the Pirates liked him, probably more than most teams, sent him to the AFL where he pitched as well as could have possibly been expected out of him. All still fine.

And it remained fine until the Pirates elected not to protect on theirm40-man roster this week, leaving him exposed to the Rule V draft.

It’s hard to predict who will get selected in the Rule V, but it’s even harder to figure out why the Pirates, after investing as much in Kaminska as they did, chose to take a chance on him getting selected. Kaminska may not have been worthy of a spot on the 40-man roster, but if that was the case, then he wasn’t worth a spot in the AFL or a compensation pick either.

Somewhere over the past week, the Pirates changed their minds on Kaminska. That change of heart cost them a valuable draft pick and a valuable spot in the Arizona Fall League. More importantly, however, it signals the same lack of plan that has plagued the organization for years.

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