Pittsburgh Pirates: 2018-2019 Off Season Lookout
Now that the World Series has wrapped up, it is time for the offseason to get underway. What does it look like for the Pittsburgh Pirates?
The Pittsburgh Pirates may have surprised a lot of people this past season. While it is not like the 2013 season where the team stormed to the playoffs, the team still outperformed expectations. Many predicted the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish with around 75 wins. Instead, the Bucs finished with 82 wins. However, the team still finished in fourth place in the National League Central. So what is going to be on the team’s plate as this offseason gets underway?
One of the most immediate decisions the team will have to make is in regards to second baseman Josh Harrison. Harrison has been one of the fan favorites over the last few years, but he did not perform as well as he has in years past. Also, he has missed significant time over the last two seasons with injuries.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have an option on Harrison for the upcoming season. Harrison is due $10.5 million for the 2019 season if his option is picked up. If not, the Pittsburgh Pirates have to pay a buy out of $1 million. In total, the team would save $9.5 million dollars if they decide to move on from him. At this point, it seems Adam Frazier will be the team’s second baseman next season. It is highly unlikely that they will pay Josh Harrison that kind of money to be a utility player. So it will be interesting to see if the team can trade him or if the just decide to decline his option.
Team’s Hitting Staff
After the Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 season ended, the team decided to let go their hitting staff. Both hitting coach Jeff Branson and assistant hitting coach Jeff Livesey were fired from their respected roles. So the Pittsburgh Pirates will need to replace them. It has been reported that the team wants to interview Boston Red Sox assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett for the head hitting coach spot. Barkett was the Bucs Triple-A coach before being hired by the Red Sox last offseason. As of now, that has been the only rumor about the job.
Of course, the most notable moves in the offseason are the players that are brought in. The Pittsburgh Pirates do not have a lot of glaring holes on the team. The biggest need in the lineup is likely at shortstop. There is a lack of quality on the market after Manny Machado, so it is likely that the team will look to roll with Kevin Newman next season. unless the team makes a trade, however that is less likely after the aggressive approach at the trade deadline. The team could also look to add a fourth outfielder and as always add pitching depth.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a big offseason ahead of them. They need to make a couple big in-house decisions, and of course should look to improve their current roster. The team just snuck by with a winning record this season. It is time for the organization to build on that success.