Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Pitcher Anthony DeSclafani

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A long time National League Central foe could be a free agent target for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason

This offseason will be one of the strangest in MLB history. Due to lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams are looking to cut payroll and spend less than ever in free agency. This also applies to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Even looking to save money, especially with the team unlikely to compete in 2021, the Pittsburgh Pirates will still have holes to fill this offseason. One of those holes will be in the starting rotation, and a free agent that could help fill this hole is righty Anthony DeSclafani.

Having been with the Cincinnati Reds since 2015, DeSclafani is a name fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates are familair with. He is also a pitcher that could help the Pirates in a variety of ways during the 2021 season.

In his career, DeSclafani owns a 4.29 ERA and a 4.25 FIP in 656.1 innings pitched across 125 gmaes (115 starts). DeSclafani owns a career fWAR of 8.4. From 2015 – 2019, DeSclafani was worth an average of 2.1 fWAR per season. He did, however, miss all of 2017 due to Tommy John Surgery and tendonitis.

During the shortened 2020 season, DeSclafani posted a 7.22 ERA, 6.10 FIP, 10.1% walk rate, and a 15.8% strikeout rate. However, this came across just 33.2 innings of work in nine games, seven of which were starts.

DeSclafani throws a slider, as well as a fastball that averages a healthy 94.8 MPH. His curveball can also be a plus pitch, limited opposing batters to a .244 batting average the past two seasons. He also mixes in a change up and a sinker.

DeSclafani could provide the Pittsburgh Pirates with a needed veteran innings eater in 2021. Right now, an innings eater is something the Pirate rotation is lacking, especially if Joe Musgrove is traded. By doing this he can help take pressure off of young pitchers such as Mitch Keller, Chad Kuhl and potentially Cody Bolton in 2021.

There is also a chance for DeSclafani to help the Pirates in another way. If he signed with the Bucs nad pitched well, he could build up good trade value entering the July 31st trade deadling when starting pitching is always a hot commodity.

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MLB Trade Rumors did not project the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign any of the top 50 free agents on the market this offseason. However, signing DeSclafani is something the Pirates should consider. He can be a veteran, back end of the rotation innings eater for a young starting rotation. DeSclafani is a player the Pirates should pursue in free agency this offseason.