The Pittsburgh Pirates have been awful for 4 years straight. It is time to start working on improving the major league team this off-season. There are 3 things that need to happen this off-season to get this team competing again.
Extend Oneil Cruz To A Long-Term Deal
Oneil Cruz‘s 2022 season was a bit of a roller coaster. He started the season in AAA in which he struggled the majority of the time he was down there. He played in 55 games with Indianapolis and had a a slash line of .233/.336/.422 with 9 home runs. He struck out 22.7 % of the time and had a walk rate of 12.1%.
He was eventually called up to the major league team on June 20th. Cruz, like most rookies struggled his first few months in the league. He struck out at almost a 40% rate and was not seeing the ball well at all. He eventually started to get adjusted to the league and it showed towards the end of the year.
In the month of September, he had a slash line of .284/.348/.549. He finished the season tied 3rd most in home runs for NL rookies with 17. He dropped his strikeout percentage by almost 5% and started to consistently have productive at bats. He ended the season with a 106 wRC+ and was one of the best hitters in the league from August 28th to the end of the year.
Cruz is just 24 years if age and the Pirates should take a risk and offer him a long-term deal this off-season. If Oneil Cruz has a big year next season, his price is only going to go higher and higher. If the Pirates wait too long, they may lose him because he will cost too much once he hits free agency espeically if he hits his ceiling. They should offer him a 10 year 150 million deal. That would be fair for both sides and would also show the fans that they care.