What a magical, unforgettable year 2013 was. Sure it ended in disappointment but there are moments in this season that I will never forget. For the entirety of my childhood the Pirates have been the butt of jokes but this season has changed that. They are once again beloved by the city and embraced like they always should have been. Baseball is back in Pittsburgh and that is a wonderful thing. The Pirates making this transition is a good parallel with my life as I am beginning to transition into the "real world" just as the Pirates are transitioning into lets call it "real" baseball. All that being said the 2013 season is over and while it was a memorable one there are only 172 days to Opening Day 2014. We need to start preparing for that and that is where we will begin. To start off let's take a look at how the Pirates roster breaks down.
Under Contract: Wandy Rodriguez*, Russell Martin, Andrew McCutchen, Jason Grilli, Jose Tabata, Francisco Liriano
Arbitration Eligible: Garrett Jones*, Neil Walker, Charlie Morton*, Gaby Sanchez, Pedro Alvarez*, Mark Melancon*, Michael McKenry*, Travis Snider*, Vin Mazzaro*, Felix Pie*
League Min Players with Options: Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, Jordy Mercer, Phil Irwin, Gerrit Cole, Kris Johnson, Andrew Lambo, Tony Sanchez, Chase d'Arnaud, Brandon Cumpton, Ryan Reid
League Min Players without Options: Jeanmar Gomez, Bryan Morris, Kyle McPherson*, Stolmy Pimentel, Andrew Oliver, Jerry Sands
Free Agents: A.J. Burnett, Justin Morneau, John Buck, Clint Barmes, Jeff Karstens, Marlon Byrd, Kyle Farnsworth
Notable Players Eligible for Rule V Draft: Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson*, Carlos Paulino, Gift Ngoepe, Casey Sadler, David Bromberg*, Zack Dodson, Zach Thornton, Justin Howard, Stetson Allie, Erik Cordier*, Ivan De Jesus*, Mel Rojas, Adalberto Santos, Joely Rodriguez
Likely Positions of Need: 1B, SS, RF, SP
1. Wandy Rodriguez has a player option he is likely to exercise
2. Jones, Morton, Melancon, Snider, Mazzaro and Pie are all arbitration eligible and are out of options
3. Pedro Alvarez has a player option he is likely to decline and head to arbitration.
4. Michael McKenry is a likely Super 2 player meaning he should be arbitration eligible
5. The Pirates will likely seek a 4th option for McPherson
6. Alen Hanson may or may not be Rule V eligible
7. Bromberg, Cordier and De Jesus in addition to being Rule V eligible are minor league free agents