April 1st is here and no joke the Pirates cut eight more players and they all appear headed to the Tribe. Early this morning Pittsburgh named Jeff Karstens their #5 starter sending right-hander Virgil Vasquez to Indianapolis. In addition to Vasquez righty Jason Davis was assigned to minor league camp and will join the Indians rotation. Bucs GM Neal Huntington has said in the past that if Davis didn’t make the big league bullpen he would be a starter in Indy. With the moves today the starting rotation will feature Tom Gorzelanny, Jimmy Barthmaier, Daniel McCutchen, Virgil Vasquez, and Jason Davis.
Other players cut today and sent to minor league camp include relievers Denny Bautista and Chris Bootcheck. Both appear heading to Indy and will be joined by either Evan Meek or Jesse Chavez. The Pirates have to make one more cut to reach their 25 man opening day roster. Of the remaining relievers in camp Meek and Chavez have options while the Pirates would risk losing Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, or Rule 5 pick Donnie Veal if the don’t make the big league roster.
Position players who were shipped to the minors and will likely join the Tribe include outfielders Garrett Jones and Jeff Salazar, infielder Andy Phillips and catcher Erik Kratz. With the moves we can add Jones and Salazar to the outfield mix with Andrew McCutchen and Phillips may take some playing time away from Shelby Ford. (Or push Ford back to Altoona where he could play everyday.) If Kratz is in Indy this may move Miguel Perez to Altoona. This year’s Indians team arrives into town late Sunday night.