Andrew Chafin is an obvious option, though likely the most expensive reliever on this list. Chafin became a free agent after declining his $6.5M option with Detroit at the start of the offseason, meaning the Pirates will need to step out of their comfort zone in order to make a deal happen.
Chafin is 32-years-old and is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.83 ERA and 3.06 FIP over 57.1 IP, good enough for a 0.9 fWAR. It was a solid follow up to 2021 in which he posted 1.83 ERA and 2.98 FIP over 68.2 IP for a 1.4 fWAR. His 2.3 fWAR over the past 2 season ranks him 20th in baseball among qualified relievers.
Chafin excels at limiting contact, as well as generating a lot of whiffs. He throws a sinker, slider and 4-seem fastball. His slider is his best pitch and one of the best in baseball, generating a 60.4% whiff rate and an incredible .085 batting average against. It’s a lethal pitch that tends to make hitters look silly (sorry, Cole):
Chafin will likely be looking for a multi-year deal, which would help the Pirates potentially lower the AAV on a contract. It is typically not like the Pirates to make a move like this, but it is a major need on the team. If the Pirates wish to potentially contend this year, a move like this should be made.
Regardless of what happens this offseason, the Pirates are destined to add at least one left-handed reliever to the bullpen. Any of these options would be great additions. Whether the Pirates can find a cheaper deal with a guy like Norris, or go all in on a guy like Chafin, look for them to be active in this market over the winter.