Pirates: The Winter So Far – Yet To Come
By Eric Scot
Hello everyone, I’m back after having gone through some life changes(for the better) and needing to deal with that for a little while. Previously, my articles were called “Great Scot” but I’ve decided that My 2 Cents makes a lot more sense considering that this is just my little area to blog about the Pirates. For my offseason coverage of the Pirates, I will be posting about things that happen, what I think of signings or losing players or losing out on players the Pirates might be interested in. I would say to expect a few articles a month until Spring Training arrives and I’ll ramp up coverage at that point.
Let’s take a look at the Pirates off-season so far.
PIRATES LOSE RUSSELL MARTIN
Honestly, I’m OK with this because in no way should the Pirates spend 5 years and $82M on a single player who is going to be 32. Martin has been GREAT for the Pirates the last 2 seasons and I’m sad to see him go, however at that price tag and more importantly, length of contract, it’s best to have Pittsburgh fans realize this team will be fine without Martin.
PIRATES TRADE FOR FRANCISCO CERVELLI
Giving up Justin Wilson was OK by me because he’s been given every opportunity to solidify his spot as a 7th inning guy or 8th inning guy if Tony Watson was not available. In Cervelli, the Pirates brought in a guy who has been stuck behind other guys and has not gotten a full shot as a full-time starter. I’m not saying that he’ll be great but I enjoy competition as Spring Training so I say let Cervelli, Tony Sanchez and Chris Stewart battle it out for 2 spots.
PEDRO ALVAREZ, IKE DAVIS, GABY SANCHEZ – OTHER?
There is a lot of talk right now about who will be the Opening Day starter at 1B. Clearly, Neal Huntington has almost spelled out that Pedro will be moved to 1B while Josh Harrison has earned his right to start at 3B next season. If Harrison were to falter, Pedro could move back over and look like a hero if his offense improved over 2014. I believe the Pirates should cut loose both Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez while pursuing a Free Agent 1B such as Adam LaRoche(again?) or looking to make an impact trade involving Pedro to secure 1B for a year or two while Josh Bell gets himself ready for the position in 2016. I wouldn’t even opposed to having Pedro vs Lambo for 1B this coming season if no deals come to fruition.
AJ BURNETT IS BACK, STILL NEED ANOTHER STARTER
Like most people, I was excited to hear that AJ Burnett will be pitching one last season and he only wanted to do it with the Pirates. He said he wants to win a ring with Pittsburgh so I’m going to guess each outing he will give it everything he has to win. Considering Huntington brought him back and knowing it’s his last season, it may appear this team finally goes for the Division and for the World Series. As such, there is a definite need for another starting pitcher to solidify the team right from the start. I’m against bringing back Edison Volquez unlike a lot of others who suggest he’s the guy the Pirates SHOULD bring back, however, I’m not a Volquez fan and believe he got very lucky most of the season. How many times did Volquez fill up the bases with less than 2 outs to somehow get out of it? We saw what happened in the Wild Card game and my guess is that he will not have anywhere near the numbers casual fans look at if he does return. I’d be fine with Francisco Liriano returning to the Pirates but only at the right price. He’s already turned down the Qualifying Offer but the amount of money is fine, it’s just the years he wants. My target would be someone like Brandon McCarthy because I think he would really fit this team, is still fairly young and could help anchor the rotation after Burnett is gone.
No question the Pirates need to upgrade the bullpen but they have a good core of backend bullpen guys with Melancon and Watson. With Wilson already gone and hopefully no more Jeanmar Gomez, the Bucs would do well to look at spending some money in this area. John Holdzkom could be a real find but he could also fall completely flat too.
Time will tell but it should be a fun off-season for the Pirates.