Happy New Year! Here's to hoping that 2023 sees the Pittsburgh Pirates turn a corner with their on field product, as their rebuild (hopeful) begins to end.
Recent years have been difficult for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans. The team has not had a winning record since 2018 and has not made the postseason since 2015. Obviously, this is not what any fan wants.
The past three seasons have been especially difficult. The Pirates are coming off back-to-back 100 loss seasons. Had the COVID-19 pandemic not shortened the 2020 season to just 60 games, the Pirates, who finished with the worst record in baseball that season, would be coming off three straight 100 loss seasons.
As the calendar flips from 2022 to 2023, there are some reasons for optimism for Pirate fans. Even if they are very minor ones. First off, and most encouragingly, the front office did not make the decision to completely punt on the 2023 season the way they did 2020, 2021, and 2022. The team has been active in free agency, and also added a quality bat via trade when they acquired Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Additionally, as Nick wrote about earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter the 2023 season with legitimate, quality starting pitching depth for the first time in at least four years. Starting pitching is the most important position group for any baseball team. In 2023, the Pirate starting rotation will have plenty of quality with the likes of Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Johan Oviedo, and free agent addition Rich Hill. JT Brubaker and free agent addition Vince Velasquez will provide quality dpeth, with top pitching prospects Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows, and Luis Ortiz all beginning the season at Triple-A.
While the Pirate lineup still has holes, it should be better in 2023. Oneil Cruz, who appeared to turn a corner with consistency in his final 200 plate appearances last season, gets a full MLB season under his belt. Choi is a strong addition to the lineup, free agent addition Carlos Santana should bring some needed pop, Connor Joe and Jack Suwinski can be a good platoon in right field, and, as of now at least, Bryan Reynolds is still here to help anchor the lineup. If Ke'Bryan Hayes can improve offensively, that can be a decent group.
All of the baseball talk can be for later. For now, Happy New Year to Pirate fans and all of our loyal readers. Without everyone who reads the site, comments, interacts with us on social media, and listens to our podcast, Rum Bunter would not be the success that it is. From the bottom of our hearts thank you and here's to a great 2023!