Pittsburgh Pirates Are A Great Option For Free Agents
Jul 25, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Brett Anderson (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
We are not that far removed from the Pittsburgh Pirates being the laughing stock of not just Major League Baseball but all of professional sports after 20-plus years without a playoff appearance and having several players leave town only to become great players with other teams.
Now, after two straight postseason appearances, an annual MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen and plenty of young talent, Pittsburgh is actually a great spot for free agents to further their careers. Sure, the Bucs do not have the payroll capabilities of the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers, but they do have a pitching coach in Ray Searage who has proven he can make the most out of pitchers like Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano. The Pirates also have a bullpen that gets a lot of publicity based on performances over the last two seasons. Because of this, free agent hurlers like Joba Chamberlain — who has never been quite the same since his heroic outings in New York — could decide Pittsburgh is the best place to go. Chamberlain — at his best — could be a great sixth or seventh inning guy who could close the door and bridge the gap to Mark Melancon. Obviously, options are slightly lower because of finances, but signing Chamberlain or a similar reliever is very possible.
Starting pitching is also a major question mark and there are some affordable options out there. Brett Anderson stands out as great option after the Colorado Rockies declined his option. Anderson has always had potential to be a front-of-the-rotation guy and even if that has fallen off, he could come in, work under Searage and turn around his career. Anderson may consider a 1-year deal with an option year and if he throws well in 2015, he could cash in next season. While he may not be a Pirate for long, he could help give minor league pitchers some more time to develop. Other pitchers the Pirates may consider are Justin Masterson and Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy may be asking too much, but the Buccos should at least give him a shot.
The Pirates do not need a lot of options on offense with a solid lineup. However, they need to find a way to replace Russell Martin. While keeping Martin is still possible, it seems unlikely. The Pirates will likely stay within the system at catcher. Tony Sanchez and Chris Stewart will not replace Martin, but at least they can fill in. The market is not ripe with players the Pirates can actually go after, but there could be a lower-tier player who could come in and platoon.
The Pirates should be right in the mix in 2015, but there are still some needs that free agency could help bolster the club.