Pirates Settings Pace During Offseason
Sep 16, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates have made the National League postseason for two straight seasons after spending two decades without even smelling October baseball.
While the club played some of it’s best ball during the second half, an exit to the eventual World Series Champions San Francisco Giants did not sit well with the team or management.
This has been made extremely evident, as the Bucs have become buyers already during the early stages of free agency. The Pirates came to a quick realization they were unlikely to retain catcher Russell Martin by trading with the New York Yankees for catcher Francisco Cervelli. It is a move that may not bring equal production, but it is a move that allows the Pirates to explore trading one of their now three catchers with Chris Stewart and Tony Sanchez in the mix.
The Pirates also showed they weren’t messing around and waiting for division rival to make moves by signing pitcher A.J. Burnett. The team needed a fourth or fifth starter and instead not only snagged a solid middle rotation pitcher, but a former Bucco who was beloved by teammates and fans alike.
Of course if the Pirates just sit in what they have done, that will give the rest of the division plenty of time to catch up or surpass them. The team is fortunate enough to have decent lineup that does not need much. If one or two players can be acquired a make up for Russell, the team will have more than enough to contend.
The Pirates also could also use support in the bullpen because one can never have too much pitching. There are plenty of options out there and picking up a long reliever who could sub, as a plug-in starte may be the best option at this point.
Either way the Pirates look kind a team that wants to up another step in 2015 and if they continue to be smart and active during this time of the year, expectations will be high next season.