The Pirates have selected the contracts of lefty Robbie Erlin and catcher John Ryan Murphy, per the team’s transactions page. Both had been assigned to the alternate training site but will now join the 40-man roster.
These moves were obviously made with an eye to structuring the Bucs’ Opening Day roster. With thirty roster spots to fill, the rebuilding club has quite a lot of openings to tinker with. These two players — both of whom are 29 years of age, were selected in the early rounds of the 2009 draft, and debuted in 2013 — are among the beneficiaries.
There was an especially clear need behind the dish in Pittsburgh. Murphy has never fully established himself as a MLB-caliber hitter, with a cumulative .219/.265/.357 slash line over 674 total plate appearances. But he’s trusted to handle backstop duties, having appeared with four different organizations over the past seven seasons.
Like most teams, the Pirates are likely to dedicate much of their added roster availability to pitching. Erlin will join a number of other arms hoping for their names to be called in on the bullpen phone. He could end up functioning as a situational lefty and/or long reliever. The 29-year-old carries a 4.57 ERA in 313 total MLB innings, all with the Padres.