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Taillon, four others added to Bucs' 40-man roster

Davis, Cabrera designated for assignment; Florimon claimed from Nats
MLB.com

A busy day of roster shuffling for the Pirates on Thursday ended with veteran first baseman Ike Davis being designated for assignment, one of the moves needed to clear enough roster space for five Minor Leaguers added to protect them from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Added to the 40-man roster were right-handers Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham, catcher Elias Diaz, outfielder Willy Garcia and infielder Pedro Florimon, who had been claimed earlier in the day on waivers from Washington.

A busy day of roster shuffling for the Pirates on Thursday ended with veteran first baseman Ike Davis being designated for assignment, one of the moves needed to clear enough roster space for five Minor Leaguers added to protect them from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Added to the 40-man roster were right-handers Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham, catcher Elias Diaz, outfielder Willy Garcia and infielder Pedro Florimon, who had been claimed earlier in the day on waivers from Washington.

In addition to Davis, catcher Ramon Cabrera was also designated for assignment. Infielder Brent Morel was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis.

The day began with the Bucs' roster at 38. With the three subtractions and five additions, it filled up at 40.

None of the moves came as a surprise, not even the decision on Davis. Acquired in a trade from the Mets in April, Davis was an on-base weapon during the run to the postseason, but did not provide the expected power in his platoon with the right-handed-hitting Gaby Sanchez. Davis' .343 on-base percentage could not offset the disappointment of only 10 homers in 336 at-bats.

Although Taillon is only about two-thirds through his recovery from Tommy John surgery, the prognosis is bright for the club's No. 2-rated prospect. Kingham's development reached Indianapolis this season, and he had an ERA of 3.34 in 26 starts between Double-A Altoona and the Indians.

Diaz is now recognized as the top catching prospect in the organization, after batting .312 in 101 games this season, most of it spent in Altoona. Eastern League coaches and managers voted him the loop's "Best Defensive Catcher."

Garcia also spent 2014 in Altoona, batting .271 but drawing more notice for the power that produced 18 homers and 27 doubles. Prior to the season, Baseball America had rated him with the organization's "Best Outfield Arm" -- which he proceeded to validate with a club record 19 assists.

In a separate move related to all the pre-Rule 5 maneuvering, the Pirates had claimed infielder Florimon from the Nationals, who had removed him from their 40-man roster to make room for their additions.

Florimon, a 27-year-old switch-hitting shortstop from the Dominican Republic, has some Major League pedigree, appearing in 210 games the last three seasons with the Twins, who had lost him on waivers to Washington in mid-September.

Florimon was Minnesota's regular shortstop in 2013, starting 127 games at the position. He enters the competition for a utility spot with the Bucs, who will need to replace Clint Barmes if the free agent does not re-sign with the team.

Morel took a turn as the Pirates' utility infielder while Barmes was on the DL with a strained groin muscle. There are already three candidates on the roster to fill that role: Justin Sellers and Jake Elmore, both acquired earlier this offseason via trade and waivers, respectively, and Florimon.

The composition of the Bucs' roster: 20 pitchers, four catchers, nine infielders and seven outfielders.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates, Ike Davis, Elias Diaz, Pedro Florimon, Willy Garcia, Nick Kingham, Jameson Taillon