Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New coaches and the 40-man shuffle

As anticipated, Gary Varsho and Tony Beasley were hired to be the Pirates' new bench coach and third base coach. Jim Leyland is cursing himself for letting a Pirate from the early 90s evade his staff. We also hired a bullpen coach. I used to think I knew what a bullpen coach did, until Lloyd McClendon was hired to do it for a year in Detroit. Now I'm clueless
Today we added one more coach to the mix by promoting Jeff Andrews from the pitching coach slot at Indy to the same job on John Russell's staff. I don't know how I feel about promoting from within, but I guess that's not fair to Andrews because he can only work with the talent that the former front office gave him.

More interestingly, we did some shuffling of the 40-man before setting it for the winter. We dropped Josh Sharpless and Shane Youman off the 40-man, which isn't terribly surprising or interesting. We also dropped Josh Phelps, which seems stupid to me as he's not actually a bad hitter, but at the same time he's not a good one and we do have other guys who can play first base and hit lefties better than he can, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised (especially because he never played after Huntington took over at the end of the year). Getting worked up over cutting Josh Phelps isn't a terribly productive exercise, I don't think. The guys we added to the roster are rather interesting. We claimed Jimmy Barthmaier from Houston, who's a starting pitcher that is probably best characterized as a "project" if I feel like being kind today. We also added Brian Bixler, Ronald Bellisario, and Olivo Astacio to the roster. Bellisario and Astacio are right-handed relievers. You can read about all three new guys that you haven't heard of before at WTM's site.