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Predicting the 25-man roster


Exactly one week from today, pitchers and catchers will be runnin’ and stretchin’, scatchin’ and spittin’ at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. By the end of next week, the full squad will be in spring training camp.

Other than in the bullpen, there will not be many position battles. The lineup is more or less set. Four of the five rotation spots are gimmies. The bench is a bit murky, but could clear up in a hurry.

Off the top of my head (and for entertainment purposes only) here’s a quick guesstimate of the 25-man roster on Opening Day:

Starters: C Chris Snyder, 1B Lyle Overbay, 2B Neil Walker, 3B Pedro Alvarez, SS Ronny Cedeno, LF Jose Tabata, CF Andrew McCutchen, RF Matt Diaz/Garrett Jones (platoon)

Bench: OF Jones/Diaz, OF John Bowker, C Ryan Doumit, INF Pedro Ciriaco, INF Josh Fields

Rotation: Paul Maholm, Kevin Correia, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald, Charlie Morton

Bullpen: CL Joel Hanrahan, SU Evan Meek, SU Joe Beimel, RP Chris Resop, RP Jose Veras, LRP Jeff Karstens

If the Pirates are higher on Rule 5 pickup Josh Rodriguez than I think they are, he could replace Ciriaco on this list. As for Fields … I dunno; just a hunch. Karstens is good insurance in case Morton flops again. Beimel, Veras and Fields all are non-roster invitees.

Of course, all bets are off if Doumit and/or Maholm is moved during spring training … which is a possibility I would not rule out.

What do you think? Drop me a line or post your 25 in a comment box below.

»»» Last season, the Pirates’ pitching staff had a lot of newcomers and guys with limited big league experience. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it was a “young” staff. With an average age of 28.6, the Pirates were slightly older than the MLB average (28.4) and the 11th-oldest staff in the majors.



  1. seth says:

    What about Olsen, does he go into the pen if he doesnt make the rotation? Also i think one of hart or asciano makes the pen.

  2. Brad Davis says:

    I think Garrett Atkins has a better shot than Fields just based on his prior relationship with Hurdle.

  3. Nick says:

    Mostly agree although I think Garrett Atkins makes it as a bench player. I like his potential power bat off the bench and right handed bat as back up at 1B & 3B for either Alvarez or Overbay. Plus I think the fact that he worked well with Hurdle before gives him a really good shot.

  4. My bad — I wrote Scott Olsen down on my list for the bullpen, but forgot to type his name here. He’s the seventh reliever and 25th guy on the roster.

  5. Good point, Brad and Nick, about Atkins. He’s put up good numbers in the past (though not much lately) and has a relationship with Hurdle, which can’t hurt. Andy Marte might also have a shot for that bench spot. I just went with Fields at this point on a hunch.
    Hart is getting back to full health, though it remains to be seen if he’ll be good to go by Opening Day. He threw off the mound in minicamp but still might get a week or two late start in spring training, which would almost certainly mean a ticket back to Indy (or elsewhere). Shoulders can be much trickier than elbows when rehabbing.

  6. Greg says:

    Hi Rob,

    Do you see the Pirates potentially moving Garrett Jones to an AL team looking for a platoon DH? There was talk early last season he was going to end up a platoon player and it is fairly obvious now barring injury or other personnel moves.

    Also, do you believe there is a better chance of the Pirates moving Chris Snyder (if the offer is right) than Ryan Doumit?

  7. Joshua Rosenberg says:

    Rob I think they will go with Fields because they will probably end up moving Overbay in deal this summer and move Alvarez to 1B and have Who ever wins the Fields Atkins Marte war of the worlds to be playing 3B next year.

  8. Ryan says:

    Not a bad 25….should be about 95 loses instead of 105 last year..

  9. Ron says:

    If Nutting has an input, the 25 lowest salaries will be the 25 man roster.

  10. Patrick says:

    Hi Rob,
    Your picks are a great start and though it’s early, as you mentioned, it is a fun exercise. I like your prediction on Fields. Peter Gammons was really high on him entering last year although he obviously disappointed. He has significant power potential and he is still young. I am not real high on Ciriaco, but I am curious if Fields, Atkins, or Marte (another former high end prospect) has the short term ability to play an “average” short stop (defensively) in case of emergency. Do you have an idea? If not, the Pirates almost would have to carry a Ciriaco or Rodriguez.
    I also like the Morton pick, though I would like to see Olsen do well and make the team which may drive a trade such as those previously rumored involving Maholm. Regardless, it’s a fun exercise. Thanks for kicking off the baseball season with some roster fantasizing.

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