Midnight tonight is the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters, meaning that to protect guys from the Rule 5 draft they have to be added by then. Before today the Pirates' roster was functionally at 38, after adding Jose Ascanio and Evan Meek back in from the 60-day DL. John Perrotto is reporting today that the Pirates will also add Ramon Augero, Brad Lincoln, Gorkys Hernandez, Bryan Morris while dropping Justin Thomas, Robinzon Diaz, and Jeff Karstens and claiming Chris Jakubauskas off of waivers from the Mariners.
The net movement puts the team right at 40, though they can still drop guys before the Rule 5 (Anthony Clagett, Jeff Sues, Luis Cruz, and Brian Bixler among others are still candidates, I would think), should they be interested in someone.
UPDATE (9:00 PM)- Sorry, I meant to update this with more information as soon as I got home, but I got caught up in a book and had no choice but to finish it.
Dropping Thomas isn't surprising in the least. I'm a little surprised to see Karstens dropped, but only because guys like Clagett and Sues are still on the roster. He's the only one that was out of options are arbitration-eligible, though. There's a pretty solid chance he'll clear waivers, though, so we can send him back to Triple-A if that happens. I'm really surprised to see Diaz dropped because Doumit is so fragile and Diaz seemed to be a decent backup. I think he'll probably be traded in the next week. According to DK's report, only Karstens has been put through waivers, so far.
If you're unfamiliar with how a DFA works (or need a refresher), after you're designated for assignment, your team has ten days to decide what to do with you. You can be traded, released, or put through waivers. If you clear waivers, you can be sent to the minors after the ten days are up. Because the waiving is a three day process, the team has seven days after the DFA to place the player on waivers. That means if someone wants Diaz, but doesn't think they'll get him on the waiver wire or pick high enough in the Rule 5 to get him, they have about a week to work out a trade. Because the Pirates have to be assuming he'll be picked in the Rule 5 (I mean, James Skelton was picked last year, people always need catchers), I'm guessing they have a trade about worked out.
As for the actual impact on the team, well, we've still got Doumit and Jaramillo and Kratz in Triple-A is a respectable short-term option (if he's not taken the Rule 5, that is, because I think he's eligible) and Sanchez will probably move quickly this year. It's a little surprising to see Diaz kept off the roster and presumably to lose him, but it's really not worth getting upset over.
UPDATE #2- Crap, I forgot to write about Jakubauskas. Besides being the worst blogger's nightmare since Mientkiewicz, he seems like a really interesting pickup. He pitched in the independent Frontier League (the Washington Wild Things' league) for three years starting when he was 24, then moved out west to the Golden Baseball league, where the Mariners finally signed him when he was 28. He'll be 31 in December, but his first stint in Triple-A in 2008 was quite good (7.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 in the PCL) and I think he'll be a solid addition to the bullpen. I mean, he can't be worse than what we already have on the far end of the bench, can he?