Diving into the depths: Pittsburgh Pirates

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Rotation
1. Paul Maholm
2. Ross Ohlendorf
3. Zach Duke
4. Charlie Morton
5. Kevin Hart
6. Daniel McCutchen
7. Brad Lincoln
8. Donnie Veal
9. Chris Jakubauskas
10. Jeff Karstens
11. Tim Alderson
12. Virgil Vasquez
13. Brian Burres
14. Brian Bass
15. Daniel Moskos
Hart will be the heavy favorite to hold off McCutchen for the last spot, but my guess is that he’ll finish the season in the pen. I see McCutchen as the superior option, and Lincoln, Veal and Alderson could all earn shots as the season progresses.
Bullpen
1. Octavio Dotel
2. Joel Hanrahan
3. Brendan Donnelly
4. Evan Meek
5. D.J. Carrasco
6. Javier Lopez
7. Steven Jackson
8. Jeff Karstens
9. Brian Bass
10. Donnie Veal
11. Vinnie Chulk
12. Jack Taschner
13. Chris Jakubauskas
14. Anthony Claggett
15. Daniel McCutchen
16. Wilfredo Ledezma
17. Brian Burres
18. Justin Thomas
19. Daniel Moskos
20. Ramon Aquero
Yeah, there’s going to be a lot to sort through here. Jose Ascanio, Neal Cotts, Craig Hansen and Tyler Yates will also be in camp with the Pirates, but none of them may be healthy enough to compete for a job in spring training.
Dotel, Donnelly and Carrasco should bring stability to the pen, though it still looks like a pretty weak group. I’m penciling Jackson into the last spot, even though he was recently bumped from the 40-man roster.


Catcher
1. Ryan Doumit
2. Jason Jaramillo
3. Luke Carlin
4. Hector Gimenez
First base
1. Jeff Clement
2. Garrett Jones
3. Steve Pearce
4. Brian Myrow
Second base
1. Akinori Iwamura
2. Delwyn Young
3. Ramon Vazquez
4. Bobby Crosby
5. Andy LaRoche
Third base
1. Andy LaRoche
2. Ramon Vazquez
3. Bobby Crosby
4. Neil Walker
5. Pedro Alvarez
Shortstop
1. Ronny Cedeno
2. Bobby Crosby
3. Ramon Vazquez
4. Argenis Diaz
Barring the late addition of Hank Blalock or another first baseman, it appears as though a starting job is Clement’s to lose. If he struggles in spring training, then the Pirates could go to Jones at first base and Ryan Church in right field.
LaRoche is listed on the second base depth chart since there’s been some talk of moving him there once Alvarez is ready. I don’t think it will happen, but it’s possible the Pirates will make the switch come August.
Left field
1. Lastings Milledge
2. Ryan Church
3. Delwyn Young
4. Brandon Moss
5. John Raynor
6. Brandon Jones
7. Jonathan Van Every
Center field
1. Andrew McCutchen
2. Jonathan Van Every
3. John Raynor
4. Lastings Milledge
5. Ryan Church
Right field
1. Garrett Jones
2. Ryan Church
3. Brandon Moss
4. Delwyn Young
5. Brandon Jones
6. Jonathan Van Every
With Church, Vazquez, Crosby and Jaramillo penciled into bench spots, there are just two openings on the Pirates, one of which will go to Clement unless he throws it away this spring. The other should go to an outfielder from the group of Young, Moss, Raynor, Jones and Van Every. Van Every’s chances would be helped a bunch if the Pirates don’t look at either Milledge or Church as a legitimate backup center fielder. Still, Young is probably the favorite.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.

Daniel Szew: “Landa was a leader, happy-go-lucky guy”

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 1:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a photo during the Twins' photo day on March 1, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.

Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”

Per Berardino:

He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.

If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.

“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”

Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.