Reasons I figured Brett Pill was a lock for the roster:
- backs up positions (1B, LF) of moderate backup need
- he has a minor-league option remaining
Well. From Andrew Baggarly:
It was more than a lark for Pill, who has an outside shot at the final spot on the opening-day roster. (He has a minor league option remaining, which hinders his chances.)
I mean, that's probably how it should be. But it's odd to see it written out. Baggs knows this stuff a lot better than most, seeing as he's talking to the powers-that-be off the record. If you want Jose Castillo references and GIFs of players falling down, hey, you know where to go. But when it comes to Brett Pill's chances to make the roster, it's Baggs. And apparently Pill has an outside shot.
Think about what Cole Gillespie adds to a bench that Pill can't. Plus defense in an outfield corner. Passable center-field defense. A little speed. A track record of getting on base in the Pacific Coast League.
And the argument for Pill: dingers.
Dingers are good! That's not nearly as snide as you might expect. A bench without Pill would be powerless. You'd have Torres/Blanco, Arias, maybe Abreu, Gillespie/Herrera/other, Sanchez ... really, that's a four-homer bench.
But I'd rate the Gillespie skills as more important, and it's not really close. The real argument is between Pill and a third middle infielder, like Abreu or Tanaka. Dingers hold more sway in that argument. And I might actually lean Pill.
Actually, I probably lean toward sifting through the roster rubble of other teams at the end of spring training. Absent that option, though, I'd flip a coin between Pill's dingers and the safety net of another middle infielder.
Pill hit a couple of dingers yesterday, you know. And if you're tired of me typing "dingers", know that my backup is "dongs", and that gets uncomfortable really, really quickly. Pill's home runs helped his cause. The news, though, is that he had a cause to help. So much for assuming there's one spot left on the roster.