Oh it’s time…it’s time…it’s…mailbag, time!
Welcome back to the weekly Pittsburgh Pirates mailbag here at Rum Bunter!
What left-handed relievers could the Pittsburgh Pirates target in free agency? Who might the Opening Day shortstop be? And more in this week’s mailbag!
As always, thank you to everyone who submitted questions this week and participated. Now, let’s dive in and begin!
If Neal Huntington addresses the bullpen’s need for another left-handed reliever this offseason via free agency, Wilson is the first guy he should target. Tony Sipp and Jake Diekman would be worth kicking the tires on as well.
The lone internal option right now is Kevin Newman, and it would be a surprise to see the Pirates enter the 2019 season with Newman as the lone shortstop option. It might be via trade or it might be via free agency, but the Pirates will add shortstop help in some capacity.
If I were the GM, I would call the Diamondbacks about Nick Ahmed or the Mariners about Jean Segura. If looking to free agency, Jose Iglesias would be the target. But the free agent shortstop market is very weak, so the trade route would appear to be the best route.
The Pirates have already filled one need by re-signing Jung Ho Kang. That leaves left-handed relief help, shortstop, and an outfielder to fill in for Gregory Polanco before transitioning to a fourth outfielder role.
Bullpen arms can be easy to find, and the Pirates can get creative in right field. For these reasons, I would expect shortstop to get squared away first.
Good shortstops are not easy to find. This means the team may have to act quickly in free agency or on the trade market. Do not be surprised to see the Pirates have their shortstop problem solved by the end of the Winter Meetings which are now less than a month away.
There was a report last week that the Seattle Mariners will look to tear things down this offseason. This could make All-Star shortstop Jean Segura and starting pitcher James Paxton available.
Segura is a guy we have targeted as a potential trade target this offseason. The price would not be cheap, however. The same is true about Paxton’s price as he has developed into one of the best left-handed starting pitchers in the American League.
To swing a trade for both Segura and Paxton, the Pirates would undoubtedly have to include Mitch Keller. Odds are, the Mariners would want at least one of Ke’Bryan Hayes and Travis Swaggerty as well. There would likely have to be another highly rated prospect involved in the trade as well. That or a young MLB piece such as Joe Musgrove or Trevor Williams.
Is this a price the Pirates would pay? Absolutely not. And they would not be wrong for not paying it.
That will do it for this week. If you ever have a question for the mailbag look for our Tweet each week throughout the offseason asking for questions.