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.
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.
Filed under: baseball, Pirates Tagged: | A.J. Burnett, A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Presley, Andrew McCutchen, baseball, Clint Barmes, David Ross, Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones, Giancarlo Stanton, J.P. Arencibia, James McDonald, Jared Hughes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jeff Karstens, Jeff Locke, Joel Hanrahan, John Buck, Jose Tabata, Kyle McPherson, Michael McKenry, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Pirates, Russell Martin, Ryan Lavarnway, Starling Marte, Tony Watson, Travis d'Arnaud, Travis Snider, Wandy Rodriguez, Wil Myers