Pittsburgh Pirates: A Few Starters that Could be Targets

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington has said numerous times that the poor starting pitching he brought in last off-season was to blame for the team’s struggles.  Here is some analysis on the starting pitching market and who could be a match for the Pirates:

Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said that he would like to bring in a few starters via free agency or trades.  The issue is that the free agent class is relatively weak compared to other years.  Many teams may over pay for pitchers who are not actually worth the money they could receive.  The list is made up of many middle of the rotation type arms, none that would be considered high-end necessarily.  Here is the  list:

Courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:

Starting Pitchers

Brett Anderson (29)
Clay Buchholz (32) — $13.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Andrew Cashner (30)
Jhoulys Chacin (29)
Bartolo Colon (43)
Jorge De La Rosa (36)
R.A. Dickey (42)
Doug Fister (33)
Jaime Garcia (30) — $12MM club option with a $500K buyout
Gio Gonzalez (31) — $12MM club option with a $500K buyout
Jason Hammel (34) — $10MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Jeremy Hellickson (30)
Rich Hill (37)
Derek Holland (30) — $11MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Scott Kazmir (33) — can opt out of remaining two years, $32MM on current contract
Mat Latos (29)
Colby Lewis (37)
Kris Medlen (31) — $10MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Charlie Morton (33) — $9.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Jon Niese (30) — $10MM club option with a $500K buyout
Ivan Nova (30)
Jake Peavy (36)
CC Sabathia (36) — $25MM vesting option with a $5MM buyout
James Shields (35) — can opt out of remaining two years, $44MM on current contract
Alfredo Simon (36)
Jered Weaver (34)
C.J. Wilson (36)

So who is Could the Pittsburgh Pirates Target?

The Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to sign at least one starting pitcher if not two.  This is based on need and Neal Huntington’s comments.  Furthermore, I truly believe they will sign one more established pitcher, while the other more of the classic reclamation type. Obviously, the Pittsburgh Pirates would love to bring back Ivan Nova, but he will be on the higher end of the market. Chances are he will get more money per year for more years than the Pittsburgh Pirates would be willing to give him.  Not saying that is right or wrong to not resign him. However, with the way the Bucs operate chances are they will pass if it goes beyond a three-year contract.

Two Starters

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There are two specific pitchers who make sense the Pittsburgh Pirates to target.  First is Edison Volquez.  Yes, he was here before and maybe the Bucs should have resigned him.  Yes, he had a bad year.  However, he had a very strong season for the Bucs in 2014 and pitched very well for the Royals in 2015.  Also, he has proven that he can pitch effectively at PNC Park and in the NL Central.  The Bucs would be able to slide him right in as the number three starter behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.

The other option would Jaime Garcia. Garcia has a club option that many are speculating will be declined.  He had a bit of a down year, but is an established pitcher in the NL Central. The price on him will be down also due to his injury history and his average 2016.  He would be a fit being he is comfortable in the NL Central.  I would not consider him a reclamation project, as those are player who have struggled a significant portion of their career.  Garcia has not, would be another solid addition.

All in all, this is a pretty low-end class when comparing it to other years.  The Pittsburgh Pirates might be better off making a trade for a pitcher rather than a signing.  A guy like Gio Gonzalez who has a team friendly option would be a great fit in Pittsburgh.  However, the Nationals would want a significant return for him as well. Furthermore, the Nationals may not be motivated to move the left-handed pitcher.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll Flexibility for 2017


I do fully expect the Bucs to add two starters.  As said earlier, one will be significant.  If you heard Neal Huntington’s comments a few weeks ago, he sounds poised to upgrade the rotation.  He spoke about how it was his fault for not bringing in enough quality starters for the 2016 season. He knows if he fails again in 2017 he could be on the hot-seat.  In conclusion, I doubt he will want that, after the success he has had over his tenure as the Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager.

Also, comment below with thoughts!