The Pittsburgh Pirates should be in the market for both left-handed relief and starting pitching this winter. Here are some potential options to strengthen the bullpen
The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the offseason with only one left-handed pitcher on the roster, until this past week when the Pirates designated Manny Bañuelso for assignment. Bañuelos was then non-tendered on Friday, making him a free agent. This has left their 40-man roster without a single left-handed pitcher, which is something the club will need to address before spring training.
What options are available to the Pittsburgh Pirates to address this need? Whether it be through trade or free agency the Pirates will find a way to address this need, so let’s take a look at a few potential options in free agency this winter.
Matt Strahm, who just turned 31, is a former top prospect turned reliever, settling in last year in Boston’s bullpen. Strahm posted a 3.83 ERA and 3.72 FIP in 44.2 innings across 50 appearances, striking out 52 batters. His strikeout rate of 26.9% was steadily above average, while his walk rate was just above league average at 8.8%. Strahm throws a fastball, slider, curveball, sinker, and change-up, a large arsenal for a reliever.
His fastball is his best pitch and could be one of the better fastballs in the bullpen, with velocity in the mid-90s and above average spin rates. Batters hit just .145 against his fastball, which also carried a whiff rate of 29% and a put-out rate of 28.6%. His breaking pitches play as well, with his slider carrying a whiff rate of 27.5%, while batters only hit .135 against his curve.
Strahm’s delivery can be deceptive and his ability to tunnel pitches can only make his stuff better. His fastball misses bats and his breaking pitches limit contact, making him a quality addition if the Pirates were to pursue him, which they should.