On Sunday, Jameson Taillon was busy putting on an impressive performance for Team Canada against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Despite a solid showing on a huge stage, he was among 11 players sent to minor league camp by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
Obviously the Pirates knew before the WBC started that Taillon would start the year in the minors. The 21-year-old is one of the top prospects in baseball and the Pirates don’t want to rush him. He is the future of the Pirates’ rotation and the future just isn’t now.
Also among the casualties were Vic Black, Duke Welker and Jerry Sands. There were no real surprises among the group.
So far this spring, the Pirates have been pretty uneven. On the pitching side of the ball, Wandy Rodriguez has pitched well while A.J. Burnett looks like he did in his final year with the New York Yankees, which, if you don’t remember, was just plain awful. On offense, Starling Marte is on fire, but Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are slow out of the gate.
The offensive woes don’t concern me as much as the lack of quality pitching does. The rotation is far from settled and none of the pitchers up for the final couple of spots seem to be grabbing hold of the opportunity. The final two and half weeks of spring training will be huge for this team because if the pitching doesn’t improve, it will be another long season in Pittsburgh. The Pirates should get Kyle Lohse on the phone now, but I highly doubt that will happen.