The Pirates announced a series of roster moves today. In addition to exercising club options over Chris Archer and Starling Marte — moves that were all but a given — the club has outrighted four players. James Marvel, Alex McRae, Yefry Ramirez and Wei-Chung Wang were all dropped from the Pittsburgh 40-man roster.
The Pirates don’t have a general manager at the moment — assistant GM Kevan Graves is filling that role on an interim basis — though it was still undoubtedly easy for their front office to pick up Archer and Marte at their 2020 tabs. Archer has been surprisingly below average since the Pirates acquired him from the Rays in a July 2018 trade that’s looking like one of the most regrettable deals in Pittsburgh history. Nevertheless, as someone who’s due an affordable $9MM in 2020, it’s worth keeping Archer around and hoping for a bounce-back season or trying to shop him during the winter.
Marte, who’s owed $11.5MM next year, looks like an even more obvious trade candidate than Archer. The 31-year-old Marte’s fresh off yet another strong campaign, one in which he totaled at least 3.0 fWAR for the sixth time since his first full season since he debuted in 2013. However, Marte’s down to his last two years of team control, so if the Pirates don’t expect to push for contention during that span, putting him on the block may make sense. That’s all the more true when considering the lack of appealing center field alternatives on the free-agent market.
Of the players the Pirates outrighted, Wang worked the largest slate of innings in 2019. While he only tossed four frames for the Buccos, the 27-year-old logged another 27 innings with Oakland prior to landing in Pittsburgh. On the season overall, Wang posted a solid 3.77 ERA, though he did so with a grisly 18-to-14 K/BB ratio in those 31 innings of relief. He held lefties to a lowly .220/.298/.280 batting line through 57 plate appearances but was tagged for an .823 OPS by righties. Wang, McRae and Ramirez will all have the option to elect free agency.