The Pittsburgh Pirates need a direction this offseason

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Andrew McCutchen
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Andrew McCutchen /
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So far this offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates have been directionless and this is something that the team needs to change ASAP

So far this offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates have had zero direction. When looking at the Pirate options this offseason the worst thing the franchise could do is stand pat. Well, thus far, that is exactly what they have done.

After back-to-back losing seasons, the Bucs appear to be at a bit of a crossroads. Superstar center fielder Andrew McCutchen will become a free agent following the 2018 season, while rotation ace Gerrit Cole will hit free agency after 2019. Second baseman Josh Harrison can also become a free agent after 2018, but he does have a pair of option years for 2019 and 2020.

With the pending roster change, the Pittsburgh Pirates must make a decision. Do they look to make one last run at the postseason with this group that already has three postseason trips under their belts? Or, does the team begin to rebuild now?

Regardless of which direction Neal Huntington and the Pirates choose to go a decision needs to be made and soon because standing pat is the absolute worst thing that the team can do.

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If the Pirates are going to try and make one last run at it with the likes of McCutchen, Cole, and Harrison, then they need to add to their current roster by addressing the starting rotation and third base. If they are not going to go this route, then it is time to start to tear it down.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have some fine young talent such as Felipe Rivero, Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell, and Trevor Williams that they can build around. Furthermore, Starling Marte is still under contract for five more seasons and Gregory Polanco (if he can get healthy and find his 2015/pre-July 2016 form) is under contract for six more.

With the young players already on the roster, the Pittsburgh Pirates could pull off a rebuild in quick fashion. If they do what they should, which is to look to start the rebuild now, the Pirates should look to trade Cole, Harrison, and McCutchen. Players such as Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova, and Jordy Mercer should be shopped as well.

Throughout the offseason there have been plenty of trade rumors swirling around Cole, Harrison, and McCutchen. Cole has been connected to the Orioles, Rangers, and Yankees. McCutchen’s name has routinely come up for teams in need of outfield help, and Harrison has been connected to the Blue Jays, Mets, and Yankees, among others.

The best option for the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates is to commit to a youth movement. The best way to do this is for the youth movement to involve players acquired in trades after they begin the rebuild. It has been a great run the past five years with the likes of Cole, Harrison, and McCutchen. Additionally, Andrew McCutchen will go down as one of the best players in Pirate franchise history. Unfortunately, and sadly, though, it is time to move on and look to the future.

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It is time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to start their rebuild. If done properly, the team could be in a position to compete for the postseason again in 2019 or 2020. However, if they continue to tread water and be directionless then things could get extremely messy.

The Pittsburgh Pirates need a direction for this offseason, and that direction needs to be one of a rebuild.

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