Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/15/14

The Pirates have promoted top prospect and 2011 #1 overall pick Gerrit Cole to Triple-A Indy. The move came late last night and seemed somewhat unexpected, although upon further examination it makes plenty of sense.

Cole won’t be joining the Pirates this year, but a number of Indianapolis arms will. The Indians are headed to the playoffs, and will have their roster purged a bit once September begins and the Pirates can bring up anyone on the 40-man roster. Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle have made some remarks in the last few weeks along the lines of not wanting to sabotage Indy’s playoff chances by taking all their best players–the Pirates pretty much NEED to do just that, so giving the Indians Cole will help them out quite a bit. It also has just as much (probably more, actually) to do with Cole himself. He’s done reasonably well in Altoona (2.90 ERA, 60 K’s and 23 BB’s in 59 innings) and this will allow him to extend his season a bit and faced some tougher and more experienced competition. Altoona’s season will end in a few days, so he’d be done for the year otherwise.

Meanwhile, the Pirates only have one more game (Friday night) before the rosters expand. The Bucs will have to fill a rotation spot with one of the Indianapolis arms, as well as add bench and bullpen depth. According to a report, Kyle McPherson (Indy’s scheduled starter for tonight) and Alex Presley are already on their way to Milwaukee.

Things get a little tricky from there. Again, the Pirates can basically bring up anyone they want on Saturday (or later), but for a player to be eligible for the postseason, they need to be up by Friday. They don’t need the extra starter until Monday, but for eligiblity purposes they should probably have one up tomorrow. A player coming up on Friday would require someone coming off the roster, though, and those that go back down would not be postseason eligible.

I’m thinking Jeff Clement and/or Chase d’Arnaud will be the one(s) to go back down, but beyond that, there are still some interesting choices to be made–notably, who the fifth starter will be (McPherson? Locke? Correia?) and who will come up ahead of the postseason eligibility deadline. Stay tuned for another wacky weekend of roster-move action.

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