Get ready, get set…
As was the focus of my gamestory from the Pirates’ 3-1 loss to the Reds on Wednesday, the Pirates need an offensive boost. I know many of you are hoping that comes via a trade before the end of the month, but for now, the club at least gets a chance to see what this team can be with some of its critical pieces healthy again.
There could be an influx of as many as five players arriving this weekend, if my count is correct. Here are the decisions that the team is looking at:
- Steve Pearce — I’m guessing he’ll be up on Friday. He’s already played in a week’s worth of Triple-A rehab games, and he has fared pretty well. Given the offensive struggles of this team, I’d guess Pearce will be playing every day when he arrives, too. His ability to play right, first and third will give manager Clint Hurdle plenty of options.
- Ronny Cedeno — He has recovered from a concussion and has been playing in Indianapolis this week, too. Given that he didn’t miss nearly as much time as Pearce, Cedeno doesn’t likely need as many rehab games. While he may not provide a huge lift for the offense, the Pirates will welcome him back on the defensive end.
- Jason Grilli — The club is expected to finalize its signing of Grilli before Friday, which would mean he’ll be in the bullpen for the series opener against the Cardinals.
- Jason Jaramillo — He has been taken off the disabled list after playing seven rehab games in the Gulf Coast League. For now, Jaramillo is back with Indianapolis. He caught Wednesday’s game there, and perhaps after he plays on Thursday, the Pirates will be ready to have him join Mike McKenry in the Majors.
- Pedro Alvarez — He’s healthy, so the decision as to when to bring him up lies with the Pirates. Alvarez has gotten hot this week, and he absolutely has the potential to provide a jolt to this lineup if he can produce like he did the second half of last year. The question remains whether the Pirates believe he’s near that point again, or if they’d rather let him continue to develop in the Minors.
Of course, with every addition there is an equal subtraction. If Jaramillo is called up, Eric Fryer will go down. Chris Leroux seems the likely one to leave when Grilli arrives. Pedro Ciriaco was already packing up his stuff on Wednesday, so the only thing missing is an official announcement that he has been optioned. Pearce or Cedeno would take his spot.
I’m thinking that Chase d’Arnaud might be the one sent back if both Pearce and Cedeno arrive this weekend, only because he has shown he still needs some fine-tuning on the offensive and defensive ends and is a guy that the Pirates want to have consistent playing opportunities. If Alvarez does also come up, you’d have to think Josh Harrison will be back in Indianapolis.
All of this is just educated speculation, of course, but the timing couldn’t be better for some reinforcement. The Pirates play their next 10 games against the Cardinals, Braves and Phillies.
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