Update: Pirates add four to 40-man roster
Update 6:10 p.m.: I spoke to general manager Neal Huntington, who is in the Dominican Republic working on the Pirates' academy and their winter instructional league, about the moves.
***On Gregory Polanco: “It’s been very fun to watch him mature into the tools, and then have those tools continue to grow and develop. As he gains control of that 6-foot-5 frame, to watch him grow from being lanky to filling out and gaining strength."
***On protecting Joely Rodriguez: “We liked the upside. Left-handed arm with three quality pitches and strike throwing.”
***On Alen Hanson's defense, and reports from his time in the Arizona Fall League: “[He’ll] flash the outstanding play ability that we are working to try to be more consistent, and then would make an immature error at times."
Update 5:36 p.m.: The Pirates made official their 40-man roster moves.
Update 4:21 p.m.: The Pirates added outfielder Gregory Polanco and right-hander Casey Sadler to the 40-man roster, according to a tweet from their agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
The 23-year-old Sadler had a 3.37 ERA in 1361/3 innings between Class AA Altoona and Class AAA Indianapolis, though he started only one game for Indy. The Pirates drafted Sadler in the 25th round in 2010.
He became a starter full-time this season after shuffling between starting and relief for his first three years in pro ball. The move to the rotation lowered his strikeout rate. In 2010 and '11, when he started only one of the 47 games he pitched in, he struck out 7.9 and 7.7 batters per nine innings. That dropped to 6.4 in 2012, when he started 17 games out of the 32 he appeared in, and 4.8 this season.
Polanco, an outfielder rated by Baseball America as the Pirates’ top prospect, signed with the Pirates out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for $150,000. The 22-year-old climbed from Class A Bradenton to Class AAA Indianapolis this season, hitting .285 with 12 home runs, 30 doubles and 38 steals in the process.
The Pirates have still not announced the moves. Their 40-man roster is now full, so if they choose to add anyone else, they must designate a player for assignment or trade someone.
The Pirates added two players to their 40-man roster ahead of today's deadline, according to their agency, and at least one more will come before the midnight deadline.
Shortstop Alen Hanson and left-hander Joely Rodriguez received spots on the 40-man roster, according to a tweet from their agency, LA Sports Management.
At some point today, the Pirates will add top prospect Gregory Polanco to the roster as well. The Pirates have not announced the moves
The two additions mean the Pirates have two remaining open spots on their 40-man roster – that will dwindle to one once Polanco is officially added – but they can clear more room by designating someone for assignment if they wish.
Hanson, 21, signed with the Pirates for $90,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. He broke out in 2012 when he hit .309 with 16 home runs and a .381 on-base percentage for low-A West Virginia.
In 127 games between Class A Bradenton and Class AA Altoona, Hanson hit .274/.329/.427 with eight home runs and 30 stolen bases. His numbers dipped during the 150 plate appearances he received with Altoona.
Hanson's defense needs improvement: He committed 32 errors this season and his 25 errors with Bradenton led the team despite the fact that he didn't spend the whole season there.
In 79 at-bats with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League this offseason, Hanson hit .253/.294/.329 with one home run and six steals.
Rodriguez, 22, debuted in the Pirates' farm system in 2009 with their Dominican Summer League affiliate. In 140 innings between West Virginia and Bradenton this season, Rodriguez had a 2.70 ERA with 101 strikeouts. His strikeout rate increased from 4.5 per nine innings while with short-season State College in 2012 to 6.5 per nine this season.