Who will Ben Cherington hire as the Pittsburgh Pirates new manager? Could Josh Bell be traded this offseason? And more in this week’s mailbag.
It’s been a few weeks…but welcome back to the Pittsburgh Pirates mailbag here at Rum Bunter! The Pirates now have their new front office in place, and are ready to tackle the offseason. With that, we are ready to tackle your questions.
As always, thank you to everyone who submitted questions this week. Now, let’s dive in!
Now that Ben Cherington is officially on the job as the Pirates’ new general manage, his first order of business is to hire a manager. Derek Shelton still seems like the best option, and a realistic one. He is widely respected in the industry, interviewed for other managerial openings this offseason, has Bob Nuttings stamp of approval, and worked with Cherington in Toronto. John Farrell and Mark Kotsay are names worth monitoring as well. Regardless of who gets the job, this search should be over sooner rather than later.
As for free agency, do not expect a ton of excitement. The Pirates need to address their starting rotation, bullpen and the catcher position this offseason. They will likely add a starting pitcher, but it will probably be someone such as Michael Wacha or Rick Porcello who the Pirates could help rebuild their value before trading them. As for catcher, someone such as Yan Gomes or Jason Castro on a multi-year deal would make sense.
The reason there may not be much of a splash in free agency is that the Pirates are not in a position to win right now. Between the pitching staff, third base, whichever middle infield spot Kevin Newman is not at, catcher, and Gregory Polanco‘s health the team has too many holes for a one year turn around. Which leads us to our next topic….
Odds are, Cherington is going to want to blow this up some. The team has a strong young core in Newman, Bryan Reynolds, Mitch Keller, and potentially Cole Tucker, among others, to build around. Also, top prospects such as Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz and Jared Olivia are quickly approaching the MLB level. So while this team is not forever away, they are at least a year or two away.
Due to this, it makes sense to move players that can net them strong pieces. I will be surprised if Starling Marte is a Pirate in 2020, the same goes for Keone Kela. Adam Frazier, Kyle Crick, Richard Rodriguez, and Trevor Williams are likely to be shopped too. The Pirates big problem is that, minus Marte and Kela, they do not have very many big trade chips that it makes sense to move this offseason.
Speaking of potential big trade chips…
Josh Bell has three more years of team control. Due to this it is unlikely that he is moved this offseason as the Pirates likely believe they can compete again at some point in the next three seasons. That said, it does not hurt to listen.
Bell is coming off a career year and is a young hitter who is trending upward. Nothing in baseball is valued more than power and Bell has plenty of that. He would have a ton of value, especially for an American League club that can play him as their designated hitter.
I do not expect Bell to be traded this offseason. At the same time, it would not be a complete stunner, either.
I have never once talked to Bob Nutting. Odds are that I never will. I am sorry.
That will do it for this week. As always, thank you to everyone who submitted questions and participated in this week’s mailbag. If you ever have a question for the mailbag look for our Tweet each week asking for questions. Also, do not be afraid to ever ask a question on Twitter or Facebook.