Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Non-Tender Candidates

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 23: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 23, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 23: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 23, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Pitcher Chad Kuhl

Quietly, Chad Kuhl has become the longest tenured Pirate. He made his MLB debut in 2016 and has since pitched in 100 games, making 84 starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Across these 100 games Kuhl owns a 4.44 ERA and 4.61 FIP in 439.2 innings pitched.

Once an exciting young pitching prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates, in a lot of ways Kuhl’s career has sort of plateaued in recent seasons. This is not entirely Kuhl’s fault, however, as due to Tommy John surgery he made just 16 starts in 2018 before missing all of 2019. His 2020 season, of course, was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuhl was the team’s Opening Day stater in 2021, but following a trip to both the injured list and COVID-19 list, Kuhl worked solely as a reliever in the final two months of the season. All told, Kuhl posted a 4.82 ERA, 5.31 FIP and a home run rate of 1.46 HR/9 in 80.1 innings pitched in 28 games, 14 of which were starts.

Since the start of the 2020 season Kuhl has pitched to the tune of a 4.62 ERA and 5.37 FIP. These results have come in 26.2 innings pitched across 39 games, 23 of which have been starts for the righty.

When you combine Kuhl’s struggles and injury history with him being set to become a free agent following the 2022 season, he is not longer part of the organization’s long-term plans. Especially if they do now view him as a reliever. Factor in his projected arbitration being $3.0M and it’s easy to envision the Pirate non-tendering Kuhl.

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