Four Realistic Free Agents That Could Make The Pittsburgh Pirates Playoff Contenders

These free agents should be within the Pirates' price range, and could push them into being potential contenders in 2024.
Sep 18, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52)
Sep 18, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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LHP Brent Suter

The Pirates lost Angel Perdomo this off-season. Not only would he sit out the entirety of the 2024 season due to Tommy John surgery, but he was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves. That leaves a hole for a left-handed reliever for the Pirates. One of the better LHRP on the market is Brent Suter, who’s durability and consistent performance could give the pitching staff a much needed booster shot.

The lefty reliever pitched 69.1 innings last year, working to a 3.39 ERA, 3.44 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP. Suter’s 18.8% strikeout rate and 8.6% walk rate aren’t going to jump off the page. That’s because the name of Suter’s game is limiting hard contact. He had an 84 MPH exit velocity, 26.3% hard hit rate, and 3.3% barrel rate last season. This put him in the 97th+ percentile of each statistic. Heck, he led all pitchers in exit velocity last season. 

Unsurprisingly, he had a HR/9 rate of 0.39. But the most impressive part about all of this is that he had such a strong home run rate while pitching for the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field is consistently one of the most hitter friendly parks because of its paper thin atmosphere. Imagine how that will play in PNC Park, somewhere that’s been significantly pitcher friendly.

But how is a lefty middle reliever going to make the pitching staff that much better? Suter has pitched 209.1 innings the last three seasons, the fifth most by any reliever who has started three or fewer games. Last year, he tossed 69.1 frames. The Pirates’ have a lot of uncertainty in the starting rotation. Having a quality lefty who you know will give you upwards of 70 innings out of the pen gives the Pirates some sense of security in the bullpen. Think about how valuable Vin Mazzaro and Jeanmar Gomez were to the 2013-14 Pirates. That’s the kind of role Suter could fill.

Next. Catcher situation . Dissecting the Pirate Catching Situation. dark