3 hot takes about the Pittsburgh Pirates

I want to share three of my hot takes about the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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This off-season hasn't been that bad

I'm not saying this off-season has been incredible. It feels like the Pirates are taking a passive approach, and while it seems like many other teams are doing the same (just look at all the free agents left), that only makes it a little more disappointing that the Pirates haven't tried to fully take advantage of a slow market. But I've seen a handful of people claiming this is the worst off-season the Pirates have had, at least in their recent history. In reality, I think there is some hyperbole there, and it's not as bad as it may seem.

The Pirates have made some solid additions, including acquiring veteran lefty Marco Gonzales and outfielder Edward Olivares via trade. Gonzales has a history of being an innings eater who can provide an above-average ERA. Meanwhile, Olivares is coming off a solid 2023 season and will be playing in a much hitter friendlier park with smaller dimensions than Kauffman Stadium in 2024. That should help both his bat and his glove.

Some of the Pirate free agent signings haven't been terrible either. Of course, there's Andrew McCutchen, but Rowdy Tellez is only one year removed from a 35 home run season. He looked great in April and May last year before suffering a forearm injury.

Martin Perez is also only one year removed from a season where he had an ERA under 3.00. While that doesn't mean I expect Perez to repeat that, he's consistently been a solid lefty starting pitcher for most of his career. Perez made some adjustments in the second half of the year after getting moved to the bullpen. Hopefully, he can parlay that into a starting pitcher role once again. The Pirates deepened an already strong bullpen by adding flamethrower Aroldis Chapman as well.

I also don't think the Pirate off-season has been that much worse than their rivals, if worse at all. The Milwaukee Brewers re-signed Wade Miley and brought in Rhys Hoskins and Jakob Junis, but they also traded Corbin Burnes, Mark Canah, and Tyrone Taylor.

The St. Louis Cardinals' only major addition objectively better than any of the Pirates' moves was signing Sonny Gray. But any of the Pirates' current starting pitching options are better than Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson.

The Chicago Cubs signed Shota Imanaga and Hector Neris and acquired Michael Busch from the LA Dodgers, but that's the extent of their major additions. The Cincinnati Reds have added Jeimer Candelario, Nick Martinez, Frankie Montas, and Brent Suter, but I don't think that's any better than the Pirates' additions of Olivares, Gonzales, Perez, and Chapman.

Again, this isn't the most glamorous off-season the Pirates have ever had. But it's not any worse than last off-season, at the very least. Is Olivares, Gonzales, Tellez, Perez, Chapman, and Yasmani Grandal truly worse than Rich Hill, Carlos Santana, Vince Velasquez, Austin Hedges, Ji-Man Choi, Dauri Moreta, Connor Joe, Jarlin Garcia, and McCutchen? It's somewhat of a half-measure, but it's not the horror story some are trying to make it.