Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young were all designated for assignment on Friday in order to open up room on the 40-man roster for the Pirates to protect players in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.
The three were all eligible for arbitration. The Pirates obviously decided not to tender contracts to any of the three, and by designating them for assignment now, Pittsburgh cleared the space it needed to protect the players it wanted to.
Michael Crotta, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Daniel Moskos and Tony Watson have all been added to the 40-man roster. That roster is now full.
UPDATE: Just spoke with GM Neal Huntington, who said that the Pirates did try to negotiate a contract with Zach and were unsuccessful. The team did not feel he was worth what he was going to make in arbitration (probably around $5 million). The club also explored trade opportunities with no success.
This from Duke: “I am truly thankful for the opportunity the Pirates have given me and genuinely enjoyed my time in Pittsburgh. I understand this business decision and wish the Pirates and my friends still on the team the best of luck in the future.”
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