Veteran righty and long-time NL Central foe Michael Lorenzen could be a fit with the Pittsburgh Pirates in free agency
General manager Ben Cherington is already off to a strong start this offseason. Last week, he acquired Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays in a good trade for the Pittsburgh Pirates that fills a big need at first base.
Moving forward this offseason, another big need that Cherington will need to address is the starting rotation. Assuming the Pittsburgh Pirates decide to go the free agent route to help aide a starting rotation that already has a strong foundation in place, one potential target could be veteran righty Michael Lorenzen.
Lorenzen has spent the last eight seasons pitching in the major leagues, with the first seven of these eight coming in the National League Central with the Cincinnati Reds. While Lorenzen has worked as both a starting pitcher and a reliever in his career, he will be looking to start for clubs in 2023.
Last season, Lorenzen pitched 97.2 innings in 18 starts with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Lorenzen posted a 4.24 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.01 HR/9, 10.7% walk rate and a 20.7% strikeout rate. His fastball spin rate was in the 82nd percentile of baseball, and he limited quality contact as opposing batters had an 88.1 MPH exit Velocity (league average is 88.7 MPH) and a barrel rate of 6.8% (which is league average) last season.
Lorenzen did miss a big chunk of time during the 2022 season. After being placed on the 15-day injured list due to a shoulder issue, he would be transferred to the 60-day IL. Due to this, following his start on July 1st Lorenzen did not pitch in the majors again until September 9th.
After returning from the IL Lorenzen showed that he is healthy.
In five starts during the final month of the season Lorenzen pitched 26.2 innings, allowing 15 hits and just three home runs. During these starts Lorenzen posted a 2.36 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 13.1% walk rate and a 28.0% strikeout rate.
Prior to signing with the Angels last season, there were rumblings that the Pirates had been in talks with Lorenzen. Despite his injury issues, Lorenzen still went on to have a strong season with the Angels. Additionally, Lorenzen’s 18 starts were the second most of his MLB career and his most since making 21 starts as a rookie in 2015. So, there is no reason to think that the Pirates would not be interested in him again this offseason.
Lorenzen would appear to be a strong fit with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2023. He would be a good veteran presence in the starting rotation while also being able to provide the team with quality starts and innings.