Veteran left Sean Manaea could provide a boost to the team's starting rotation and be a free agent target for the Pittsburgh Pirates
It is no secret that starting pitching is the biggest need for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. This need may become even bigger as Johan Oviedo may need to undergo Tommy John surgery, which would cost him the entire 2024 season.
Regardless of the status of Oviedo, the Pirate starting rotation would benefit from adding a left-handed pitcher this offseason. That left-handed pitcher could be veteran Sean Manaea. In fact, Tim Dierks of MLB Trade Rumors has even predicted Manaea to sign with the Pirates.
Manaea became a free agent on November 5th when he opted out of the second and final year of his two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants. With the soon to be 32-year-old Manaea looking for a new home, the Pirates could be a fit.
Last season, Manaea pitched in 37 games with the Giants with 10 of them being starts. Manaea pitched 117.2 innings, posting a 4.44 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 8.4% walk rate, and a 25.7% strikeout rate. He also did a good job limiting home runs, allowing home runs at just a 1.07 HR/9 rate.
Manaea limited opposing batters to an average exit velocity of 89.4 MPH and a hard-hit rate of 36.4% last season, both of which were better than league average. Most of his struggles came early in the season. From May 22nd through the end of the season, Manaea posted a 3.40 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 7.1% walk rate, 25.8% strikeout rate, a .217 batting average against, and a 0.60 HR/9 in 90.0 innings pitched. Nearly half of the earned runs he allowed last season came in his first 27.2 innings pitched.
Prior to last season, Manaea had been a full-time starter in his career. Through his first seven MLB seasons, Manaea pitched 885 innings in 159 games, 156 of which were starts. Six of those seasons were spent with the Oakland A's who selected Manaea 34th overall in the 2013 draft, with his seventh season being spent with the San Diego Padres.
In his career, Manaea owns a 4.10 ERA and a 4.05 FIP. He's walked 6.5% of opposing batter, struck batters out ar a 22.1% clip, and has allowed home runs at a rate of 1.23 HR/9. He could be a much needed stabilizing, veteran presence for the Pirate starting rotation.
Manaea pitched better than his overall results last season. Furthermore, PNC Park is a friendly pitcher's park, but especially for left-handed pitchers. Signing Manaea to a two-year deal this offseason would make a lot of sense for the Pirates.