Pittsburgh Pirates: What Does the Future Hold for Joe Musgrove?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a big offseason ahead of them, with a lot of work to complete.  One of the first steps will be to make a decision on a pitcher.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are likely going to see a few changes this offseason.  The team has already cut loose a lot of players, those of who should have already been let go.  This is all part of the plan that General Manager Ben Cherington has put into place.  Last year, he admitted that there was a lot of room for improvement and that it would take some time to get things into place.  He wanted to learn about the organization before making any decisions.

This is why he had a relatively quiet first offseason.  Other than the Starling Marte trade, Cherington acted very conservatively.  He would later admit that he wanted to take the first year or so to be able to learn as much as he could about the organization from top to bottom.  He wanted to make sure he understood the talent he had to work with before moving or not moving pieces.

So could that mean the Pittsburgh Pirates are in for a lot of changes this offseason?  Possibly, although Cherington could not have planned on this being one of the most abnormal Baseball offseasons in history when he decided to play it safe last offseason.  Still, there is an expectation that the trade market could be very active, especially for young, cheap, controllable players.  With MLB revenues down, teams have already shown that they will be stingy with contracts.

This could be said for a few of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  One player in particular, though, is likely facing a crucial offseason in his Pittsburgh Pirates tenure.  Joe Musgrove only has two years of contractual control left, as did Gerrit Cole did before being dealt.

The Pittsburgh Pirates need to make a decision, do they want to extend Musgrove, who will have a rising arbitration cost, but looks to be trending upward as a pitcher or should they look to trade Musgrove and take advantage of one of the few “bigger” trade chips on the roster?  Keep in mind he is projected to receive about $4 million in the arbitration, which makes him even more valuable in trade talks.

With Musgrove only having two years of team control left, extending him this offseason would be the most logical.  However, there were reports that teams were interested in dealing for Musgrove at the deadline, and that had he been healthy, the pitcher may have been dealt.  The team that apparently was interested in him at the deadline was the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves, of course, would still make sense as an interested team.  However, the nice thing about the offseason is that there are a lot more teams looking to buy than at the deadline.  It has already been reported that the Angels and Red Sox want to upgrade their pitching staff.  Also, the Blue Jays reportedly were interested in several of the Bucs pitchers at the deadline and are expected to look to add pitching.  Other teams that could at least be interested are the Yankees, Mets, and Padres.