While many are anxious to see who Ben Cherington will hire to be the next manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, his first order of business will come today by 5 p.m. when he will decide which prospects to protect from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. While this is a relatively minor set of transactions in the grand scheme of Cherington’s (hopefully) long-tenured career with the Bucs, it will shed some light on which prospects the club thinks highly of enough to protect.
While assistant general manager Kevan Graves and director of minor league operations Larry Broadway will exact heavy influence on the decisions of who to protect, Cherington will get the final say on who stays and who goes. Because the Pirates have so many prospects that have similar talent levels, these decisions have the chance to become a little more nuanced than expected.
That being said, The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel writes that the five most likely candidates to be added to the 40-man roster are third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes (a no-brainer), shortstop Oneil Cruz (obvious as well), first baseman Will Craig, right-handed pitcher Blake Cederlind, and right-handed pitcher Cody Ponce.