5 Pittsburgh Pirates Who Won’t Make It Through 2014 Spring Training
5 Pittsburgh Pirates Who Will Need A Job On Opening Day
The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to be entering the 2014 Spring Training with very few questions that need to be answered. Four of their five starting rotation spots locked up, with Jeff Locke and Edinson Volquez battling for the fifth spot. The bullpen, barring any trades, is going to be the same as it was for much of last season.
The lineup will be the same as it was in 2013, excluding the final month of the season with Marlon Byrd. The only differences will be first base and right field. Russell Martin will catch, Gaby Sanchez and Andrew Lambo will share first-base duties, Neil Walker will play second base, Pedro Alvarez will play third and the infield will be finished off with Jordy Mercer at shortstop.
In the outfield, the Pirates will have Starling Marte in left, Andrew McCutchen in center and a combination of Jose Tabata and Travis Snider until top prospect Gregory Polanco is ready to take over in right field in June.
The bench is going to be changed a little from last season, with Chris Stewart replacing Michael McKenry as the backup catcher. However, Josh Harrison, Clint Barmes and a few corner outfield and corner infield options will round out the roster. The problem for the Pirates is figuring out who the corner infield and corner outfield options will be.
No one knows who will be the last few guys off of the Pirates' bench, but it is possible that Jaff Decker or Chris McGuinness will take one or both spots. The five players I'm going to be mentioning in the following slideshow are a few players that have hopes of making the roster, but will in all likelihood fall short.
A career .262/.339/.406 hitter, Chris Dickerson could be a fourth or fifth outfielder on most teams, but with Jose Tabata and Travis Snider already taking reps in right field to begin the season, it is unlikely that he will make the Opening Day roster.
Being a lefty, Travis Ishikawa will be in the mix for the left-handed hitting side of the first base platoon until the end of Spring Training most likely. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates will probably opt to go with Andrew Lambo if the race is even remotely close between the two.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a ton of bullpen arms throughout their system. For an "average Joe" like Daniel Schlereth to make the roster, there would have to be a whole lot of injuries in Spring Training. Schlereth is a decent bullpen option for most teams, but the Pirates simply don't have any room for him.
Michael Martinez has one thing going for him: Versatility. He can play all over the infield and he can play all the outfield spots, but he can't hit his way out of a paper bag (or however that saying goes). In 396 career plate appearances, Martinez has a .187/.234/.261 slash line with a 31 wRC+ (100 is average).
Robert Andino played in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system in the second half of last season. The Pirates brought him back on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, but with all the better infield depth options the Pirates have, it's hard to see Andino making the roster.