If you are a Pirates fan and was hoping the Bucs would sign one more starting pitcher, you can cross Mat Latos off the list. Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Latos signed a one-year deal for $3 million with the Chicago White Sox.
The short length of the contract and the money Chicago is paying are both surprisingly low. The conclusion is that teams are fearful of Latos health and he is hoping to excel this season in order to get a long-term contract in 2017.
The 29-year old right hander was 4-10 with a 4.95 ERA with three different teams last season. He has had issues with his knee and elbow.
The Pirates are looking at the back-end of the rotation consisting of newly acquired Jonathan Niese, Ryan Vogelsong and Jeff Locke. Although another internal candidate might emerge, this is what the Bucs have on their website as their rotation.
Most critics think the current rotation is a major downgrade from last season with the loss of JA Happ, A.J. Burnett and Charlie Morton.
There are still some options on the table for GM Neil Huntingdon who could be waiting for a bargain at the beginning of spring training.
Some pitchers that are considered major league starters that are still free agents include Mark Buehrle, Yovani Gallardo, Jeremy Guthrie, Aaron Harang, Tim Lincecum, Kyle Lohse, Mike Minor and Alfred Simon. A trade could be considered an option but the Pirates would have to give up prospects to get anything significant and with Tyler Glasnow and James Taillon closing in on their major league debuts, that scenario is highly unlikely.
Is the current rotation good enough to send the Pirates to their fourth straight post-season appearance? The health of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano is essential and which Jonathan Niese shows up is another factor. If those three make 90 starts between them and pitch well, the back of the rotation will be less of a factor.