The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their third big trade in less than a month by sending right-handed starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees for a four prospect package. This comes just days after trading Joe Musgrove to the San Diego Padres for a five prospect package. Before that, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals for two pitching prospects.
The offseason is far from over with just a little over a month before we start seeing players report to spring training camp to begin to heat up for the 2021 season. So what is in store for the Bucs looking ahead for the rest of the off season?
While the team does have a few pieces left who have gotten some attention, namely Steven Brault and Adam Frazier, on the trade market, it doesn’t seem that the Pittsburgh Pirates will be doing any more heavy shopping of their players.
General manager Ben Cherington stated to reporters after the Taillon trade that the front office will “likely shift our energy back toward adding to the team.” However, he also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a trade saying that they’ll “definitely keep the phone on” in case any team comes calling.
Looking at the current roster, the Pirates could use more starting pitching help. Now with Taillon and Musgrove gone, Brault and Mitch Keller look like the only locks for the rotation with a mixture of JT Brubaker, Wil Crowe, Chad Kuhl and Cody Ponce are looking to start the year as part of the rotation.
Overall, that’s a very inexperienced group with Crowe and Ponce still considered prospects going into the 2021 season and Brubaker only having 47.1 innings. In terms of what the Pirates could seek out in the free agent starting pitching market, they could aim for a durable veteran innings eater type like Jeff Samarzdjia, Julio Teheran, Anibal Sanchez or Brett Anderson. Alternatively, they could go after a younger arm with some upside like Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Rodon or Matt Moore.
The Pirates could also add some depth in the outfield. Currently, Bryan Reynolds seems like the only lock with the oft-injured Gregory Polanco penciled in right field and Anthony Alford or Jared Oliva as options on hand to take over in center.
With the team lacking a decent power bat, especially after trading Bell, they could acquire a veteran corner outfielder with some pop like Jay Bruce, Joc Pederson or Brian Goodwin. Former top prospects who have shown some promise and are still young, like Albert Almora and Nomar Mazara, could be another route the Pirates explore. Finally, they could add a top tier glove to man center like Delino DeShields Jr., Jake Marisnick or Billy Hamilton.
The 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates are obviously going to look a lot different from the 2020 Pirates. This offseason has been an active one and the Pirates are in much better shape moving forward, but they still need to put nine men on the field every game. They’ll likely be looking for players that are durable and they don’t have to worry about getting injured for the rest of the season, as well as possible low-risk/high-reward additions that they can flip at the deadline. Although it seems like he isn’t actively trading him, it should still be clear that both Brault and Frazier are on the market.