The Pittsburgh Pirates need to add at least one more starting pitcher this offseason, where could they find that pitcher?
The Pittsburgh Pirates need at least one more starting pitcher. There are still decent options out there for them to pursue. But where will they get their next starter from? Will it be via free agency? Maybe it will be through trade. I want to go through what I believe are the most likely scenarios and potential targets.
I don’t think the Pirates will go after one of the remaining Major League free agents. Rather, I think they will go one of two routes. The first route is the international free agents. There are two that the Pirates have been connected to. Yariel Rodriguez’s name has been thrown around a lot as a potential target for the Pirates.
There was a report that came out over a week ago by Enrique Rojas that the Toronto Blue Jays were closer to signing him than any of the other teams interested. It’s unknown whether this still holds true, as there has been no further update about the Blue Jays and their pursuit of Rodriguez since this report.
Rodriguez last pitched professionally in 2022 for the Chunichi Dragons, working to a 1.15 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 3.33 K:BB ratio. But all 54.2 of his innings pitched were out of the bullpen. Rodriguez has experience being a starting pitcher, although his results out of the rotation weren’t great. Granted, he hasn’t pitched semi-regularly as a starter since 2021, and his stuff looked good in showcases.
Rodriguez has some risk, as he’s not a surefire starter. He hasn’t started regularly in a few years, and while his stuff looks good in showcases, it’s unknown how that would fare in competitive professional games. Still, he’s worth a look. Uwasawa brings an interesting approach to the mound.
The other international player the Pirates have been connected to is Naoyuki Uwasawa. The Japanese right-hander pitched to a strong 2.96 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 3.02 K:BB ratio last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters. This marked the seventh year in a row Uwasawa had an ERA under 3.50. Uwasawa is not a hard-throwing pitcher, as he mostly relies on command and keeping batters off balance with his wide variety of offerings. According to FanGraphs, he throws six different pitches. Only one or two may project as a 55-grade offering, with the rest sitting in the 45-50 range, but batters only have a one in six chance of being right when they swing, and he typically can locate very well.