Pirates well equipped to start season without closer David Bednar

Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day
Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Heading into Spring Training there was one thing that most Pirates fans agree on, the potential of the bullpen. The team saw a lot of young relievers make impacts last season including Colin Holderman, Dauri Moreta, Carmen Mlodzinski, and Jose Hernandez. In addition to the young core of relief arms the team brought in veteran Aroldis Chapman to pair with closer David Bednar to make the bullpen even deeper.

However, the bullpen depth is already being tested and the season has not even started. Right-hander Dauri Moreta left a Spring appearance shaking his elbow and has since been placed on the 60-day injury list. Also, All-Star closer David Bednar has yet to pitch in a formal Spring Training game. Apparently, he is dealing with a lat issue.

With Bednar not throwing much at all this Spring, there is a good chance that he will start the year in extended Spring Training or on the injury list. So essentially the team is heading into the 2024 season down two important relief arms. Obviously, this is not a good thing especially considering the team already has a questionable rotation.

However, the Pirates prepared themselves for this scenario. The team bringing in Aroldis Chapman is a bigger deal than them just landing a dominant reliever.

He also has closing experience, which is so important especially early in the season. A team like the Pirates cannot afford to get behind the 8-ball early. Experimenting with the closer spot would lead to this exact problem. Not every reliever is built for the 9th inning. The mentality is different for closers compared to relief arms.

This sort of happed last season. The Bucs placed Bednar on the Injury List from the beginning of August to nearly the end of September. Now he has yet to throw a formal inning in Spring Training. Having Chapman will allow Bednar to get healthy and not be rushed back and will allow the team to not miss a beat to start the season.