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Pirates Rounding Out Bench

Pirates have options as they get prepared to open the season on April 5, against the NL West Los Angeles Dodgers. This is the position the current management team has been waiting for. They would rather make tough decisions on who gets left out, as opposed to not enough options for bench players, as they were faced with in the past.
When Neil Huntington is asked about which players are going to make the big–league club and who isn’t, he offers as many as nine players vying for five bench spots.
Out of these five spots available, it is almost certain that off-season acquisitions Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby will be on the roster. As of now, Ryan Doumit is the only catcher on the roster, so one of the three remaining spots will belong to a back-up catcher, more than likely Jason Jarimillo. This leaves the Pirates with two bench spots remaining and six players competing for them. The competitors include; Ramon Vazquez, Delwyn Young, Neil Walker, Steve Pearce, John Raynor, and Brandon Moss.
This is going to be a battle to watch throughout the rest of the spring and into the early months of the regular season. We all know that most teams do not maintain the same rosters through the season, whether it is from injuries or poor performance, players get sent to the minors and players get called up regularly. Delwyn Young probably has the inside edge on one of the remaining positions.
Young has shown his versatility by converting from a corner outfielder to second baseman last season when Freddy Sanchez was traded to the San Francisco Giants. Young showed pop in his bat off the bench last season in a pinch-hitter role that will help his cause as well. Ramon Vazquez is the primary competition for Young. It is doubtful that both will start the season in Pittsburgh, but anything is possible. Vazquez is guaranteed $2 million this season, so it will be tough to have him start the season in the minors.
If Young or Vazquez makes the team, this would leave the remaining five competing for the last spot. Both Neil Walker and Steve Pearce have an option remaining that would allow the Pirates have them start the season in the minor leagues. On a personal note, neither of these players has shown the potential that they were signed for. Each of these players has shown to be minor leaguers at best, not developing into the players that the Pirates expected. It would not bother me if the Pirates cut ties with either one and moved on.
John Raynor is an interesting option. He is a Rule 5 player that could have an immediate impact with the club; likewise he could be taking a spot that could be utilized by a better player. Raynor is still young and has many areas to work on, but the Pirates see the talent that Raynor has and the type of player he is capable of being. Brandon Moss is the other outfielder fighting for that last bench spot on the club. Moss struggled last season when he was named the starting right fielder coming out of spring training.
Both Young and Moss are out of options, which mean if they start the season in the minors; it is very likely that they will end up signing with other teams. It is still early in the spring and the Pirates have a lot of decisions to make, but it is a good sign to see that the talent pool is starting to get deeper.
If the season started tomorrow, I would guess that Crosby, Church, Young, Jaramillo, and Moss would make the team. Even though they owe Vazquez a lot of money, they would free up some time to make a solid decision. It is possible that Moss will be shopped around, or any other number of possibilities between now and April 5.
aaron kroh