Pittsburgh Pirates: Look to Free Agency This Offseason


The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of work to do this offseason in order to compete for a playoff position next year.  One avenue would be to sign a prominent free agent.

Already, the most talked about issue heading into the offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates would be to add a prominent bat.  There would be two ways to do accomplish this goal.  The first would be to look into the free agent market.  The second option for the Pittsburgh Pirates would be to add a player through a trade.

Both do not seem all that likely when speaking about the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  The team has never really done either of those options.  Yes, they have signed free agents in the past, but just last year they did not sign one major league free agent.

Meanwhile, they have done this through trades.  In the past, they have brought in proven bats like Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau in 2013, then even as recent as Corey Dickerson last spring.  However, the team also made splash trades during the season bringing in Keone Kela and Chris Archer for four of their top young players.  So it does not seem likely that the team would be prepared to ship out more prospects in a trade.

When it comes down to it, the team might feel more comfortable spending in free agency this year rather than dealing more young talent.  Furthermore, the team is projected to have a payroll around $70-75 million.  So with that, the team should spend at least a solid $20-30 million to get the payroll around $100 million.  The payroll should increase this upcoming year, especially with the team coming off a winning season.

There are a lot of notable free agent bats this upcoming offseason.  Of course, the group is led by outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado.  These players will obviously be out of the Pittsburgh Pirates budget to sign.  The next tier of players are the likes of AJ Pollock, Josh Donaldson, and even Andrew McCutchen.  These players could likely be had by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but they also are likely to get bigger contracts that might be a little bit of an overpay in the Pirates eyes.

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There are a lot of free agents this upcoming Winter.  While the team should be active in the look for an impact bat, they will not go out of their “comfort zone.”  Luckily, this is one of the deepest free agent classes in recent history (click here for a full list).  The teams biggest need is at shortstop.  Of course, the free agent class is not spectacular there, but there are productive players in Eduardo Escobar and Marwin Gonzalez, although neither is an everyday defender at short.  The other position would be to add another outfielder with Polanco on the shelf to start.  Regardless, the team needs to add an impact bat, and it most likely will be brought in via free agency.