Do we think Kyle McPherson is going to make the roster out of Spring Training? I’m not so sure. I think the likely competition is between him and Justin Wilson. If one makes the cut I don’t forsee the other one making it.
Much of this opinion comes from the fact that I think Jonathan Sanchez is in the Pirates fans. I tend to think that might be bad news for Wilson because Wilson is a lefty, like Sanchez, and Wilson also has two options left. McPherson only has one.
Still, I think the chance of McPherson being sent down are decent because the Pirates definitely see him as a starter in the near future. There is currently no room in the rotation for McPherson so the Pirates will have to decide if he actually bumps a guy to the pen or if he himself will go there. Personally I’d prefer he stay with the big club, but as a 24 year old he isn’t too young to learn a little more at AAA and keep himself stretched out to start.
He looked very solid out of the bullpen last year for the Pirates and quite frankly he might be one of the best options the Pirates have out of the reliever candidates.
Does making him a reliever typecast him into that role? I’m not so sure, but I’d be pretty bummed out if it did. The Pirates bullpen will include Jason Grilli, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Bryan Morris and Jared Hughes as basic locks. That leaves probably two slots to fill. The guys that are competing for them are Johnathan Sanchez (opt out clause if not on the roster by March), Jeanmar Gomez (no options remaining), Chris Leroux (no options remaining), Jeff Locke (one option remaining), Andrew Oliver ( one option remaining), Wilson, Vic Black (three options remaining), and Vin Mazzaro (who was outrighted when Francisco Liriano signed).
In addition I think Mike Zagurski was definitely brought in as a NRI to compete for a slot as a lefty out of the pen.
That’s a whole lot of bodies to pick from for two or three (unlikely) spots. The fact is it might make more sense from a player control standpoint, and a development standpoint to send McPherson down and let him continue to start at Indy. The Pirates will have rotation holes next year and also a better handle on what Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton can do going forward.
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