The Pirates Will Do Very Little This Offseason And That’s Okay.

What will happen this off-season:

In the OF: Nothing. Andrew McCutchen is rightfully entrenched in center. Starling Marte is ready for a fulltime job. Travis Snider gets first crack at right field. Alex Presley and Jose Tabata provide depth.

In the IF: Nothing. Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes and Neil Walker are set at third, short and second. Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez will platoon at first.

Behind the plate: A partner for Michael McKenry will be picked up. It won’t be Russell Martin if his price is really 4 yrs/$40M. I don’t know how much A.J. Pierzynski is looking for. Toronto (J.P. Arencibia/Travis d’Arnaud/John Buck) and Boston (Ryan Lavarnway/Jarrod Saltalamacchia/David Ross) both have catching depth to spare. Trading with one of those teams seems like the best option.

On the mound: A.J. Burnett/Wandy Rodriguez/James McDonald will head the rotation. After that things are in flux. Jeff Karstens will be in the mix if he’s tendered a contract. Look for the team to add one starter making $8-10M/year. Kyle McPherson and Jeff Locke will fill the back-end or provide depth.

In the Bullpen: This is where the most change will happen. Joel Hanrahan, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes will be there. Every other spot is up for grabs. This is OK because reliever performance can vary wildly from year to year. Bullpens are also one of the easiest pieces of the team to build on the cheap. For those same reasons, it’s also possible that Hanrahan could be traded if another team is willing to give up a solid catcher or starting pitcher.

So that’s it. The Pirates will sign or otherwise acquire a catcher, a starting pitcher and a slew of relievers.

What else was to be expected? The major moves were made in July – Wandy Rodriguez and Travis Snider.

There aren’t any obvious bargains to be had on the free agent market. Look closely at that list and you’ll find that each player falls into one of three categories: old, bad or prohibitively expensive. Any significant improvement will have to come via the trade route. If they could swing a trade for Giancarlo Stanton or Wil Myers or a shortstop with half a bat to go with this glove it would be beyond great, but I just can’t see a deal like that happening. This is your 2013 Pirates team. And it looks a whole lot like the 2012 team.

Trade Tree: Jeremy Guthrie

Jeremy Guthrie just signed a three year, $25M deal with the Royals. MLBTradeRumors had predicted he would sign with the Pirates so that’s more than enough for me to consider this as semi-relevant. (Guthrie was also Pittsburgh’s third round draft pick in 2001 but did not sign.) Knowing the Pirates’ desire to improve the depth of the starting rotation, it’s likely they considered Guthrie as a possibility.

But that’s neither here nor there now that Jeremy has chosen to stay in Kansas City. How did the Royals get him?

He struggled hard in the thin air of Colorado — certainly not the first or last pitcher to do so. In KC, Guthrie turned back into exactly what was expected – a league average pitcher who can take his turn every time up. How did the Rockies get him?

Colorado traded the talented but inconsistent Jason Hammel, thinking they were getting the Guthrie that eventually showed up in Kansas City. Hammel had a breakout year for the upstart Orioles, becoming the pitcher the Rockies thought they were getting from the Rays at the start of the 2009 season. Man, it’s tough being a pitcher in Denver.

Just to complete the tale, how did the Orioles get him?

So that’s the story of Jeremy Guthrie: a consistently average pitcher twice traded by teams looking for a younger pitcher with a little more upside.

Marlins/Blue Jays Trade Trees

Pretty quiet on the Pirates news lately, so why not jump out into the rest of MLB. The big story yesterday was Miami enacting yet another firesale trade on its weary fan base. Go read that link; Grant’s awesome. I’ll still be here when you get back.

Good read, eh? Sucks to be a Marlins fan right now. Here’s how the trade shakes out down on South Beach (click to embiggen):

On the flipside, Toronto immediately improves by leaps and bounds. Still, it will be hard for them to compete in the AL East. At most only three teams from the division can make the playoffs and the fourth place Jays were 17 games behind the Rays. Even if you figure that they added 10 wins worth of new players (Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio combined for ~10 WAR in 2012) and traded ~3.4 wins, that’s only a net of 6.6 wins improvement. A full season from Jose Bautista might be worth an additional 3 wins which would get them an 83-79 record. Just good enough to miss the playoffs again and break your Canadian heart.

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