As the season opener approaches, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle still has plenty of decisions to make as to the composition of his Opening Day roster.
Who will the 5th starter be? Who will fill Jung Ho Kang’s spot on the roster? Will Jose Osuna be rewarded for his spring performance? Will Hurdle find a spot for Alen Hanson?
Plenty of questions so let’s take a look at where things might stand with a week before the opener in Boston.
Pirates 25 Man Roster?
Starting Rotation (4)- Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova and Chad Kuhl are locks.
5th Starter Options (1)- Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchison, Trevor Williams, Steven Brault are the candidates. I’ll guess and say the last spot will go to either Hutchison or Williams. Considering he hasn’t exactly won a spot this spring, the Pirates will probably want to see Glasnow return to AAA and hopefully dominate before getting the recall to Pittsburgh.
Bullpen (7)- Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo (if he isn’t traded) are locks which means Hurdle has two decisions left to make.
Williams or Hutchison could be candidates as long relievers but I’d imagine the Pirates would rather see them get a start every fifth day at Indianapolis. That would leave Jared Hughes, Wade LeBlanc, AJ Schugel and Tyler Webb battling for the last 2 spots.
Starting Infield (5)- Josh Bell, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, David Freese and Francisco Cervelli
Starting Outfield (3)- Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen
Bench (5)- Chris Stewart, John Jaso, Adam Frazier, Phil Gosselin and Alen Hanson
If that ends up being the Opening Day bench, Hurdle will guys that can play multiple positions and also have some speed with Hanson and Frazier. Some will want Osuna to start the year in majors but the Pirates history doesn’t suggest they’ll do that.