Jordan Lyles Is ‘Plan A’ For The Pittsburgh Pirates And The Final Rotation Spot


As part of Saturday’s Pirate Fest, fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates got some answers from the team’s management team

Saturday at PNC Park was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ yearly Pirate Fest. Part of Pirate Fest every year is a Q&A session for the fans with Pirate players, coaches, and members of the team’s front office. While the Q&A session may not always lead to the most genuine or straightforward answers in the world, it still gives fans the opportunity to grill the often maligned Pirate management team.

One of the questions asked of general manager Neal Huntington pertained to the team’s starting rotation. The top four in the rotation of Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, and Joe Musgrove is set, and in good hands. However, the fifth spot remains in flex. At least, it appeared this way.

On Saturday, Huntington told fans that the team has a ‘plan A’ for the final rotation spot. This ‘plan A’ is free agent addition Jordan Lyles. According to Huntington, plans ‘B’ and ‘C’ are Nick Kingham and Steven Brault, while ‘plan D’ is to use an opener.

Lyles made changes to his pitch usage last season that led to success. But, as I wrote about yesterday, despite these changes, his best role remains as a reliever/swing man for the Pirates.

The team’s best option for the final rotation spot would be to add another starting pitcher either via free agency or a trade. With 18 days until pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton and over two months until the season opener in Cincinnati, this remains a possibility.

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Huntington’s statements were not definitive. After all, he did say “as we stand here today”. If the team was 100% set on Lyles as the fifth starter, Huntington could have came out and said as much on Saturday. Instead, he made it sound as if the team would still like to add another starting pitcher to the fold before the start of the season.