Potential trade market
The second route is the trade market. There have been a handful of players rumored to be available in trade. The Miami Marlins are listening to offers on some of their young starters, including Jesus Luzardo, Edward Cabrera, and Trevor Rogers. Luzardo would obviously be awesome, but I think Cabrera is both somewhat realistic and still a decent pitcher. Cleveland Guardians’ starter Shane Bieber has been the subject of trade talks since the trade deadline. The San Francisco Giants were rumored to be willing to move one of their young arms earlier this off-season. Although Giants’ GM Farhan Zaidi said that top prospect Kyle Harrison is off the table, nothing has been specified about Keaton Winn or Mason Black.
Between all these options, I would want Cabrera the most based on how much it would cost and what the Pirates would be getting. Bieber isn’t a bad rental, but again, is only a rental. Rogers is a decent buy-low rebound candidate, although he would not be my first target. I would be okay with either Winn or Black if the Giants still have any interest in moving any of their young starting pitchers.
I am not perfect in my predictions, so who could be some names to keep an eye on if they decide to go after an MLB free agent? I would not be surprised at all if Hyun-Jin Ryu is on their radar as I write this. He seems like a proto-typical Ben Cherington free agent, as he is a veteran soft-tossing left-handed starting pitcher. James Paxton also fits that bill. His numbers were worse than Ryu's, but his final three starts bombed his bottom line. Eric Lauer would be a solid rebound candidate. He was good in 2021-2022 but pitched less than 50 innings in 2023. Of course, I would love to see the Pirates go after Jordan Montgomery or Shota Imanaga, but I am not holding my breath on either.
Whatever the Pirates do, they just need to add at least one more solid starting pitcher. They’re relying a lot on rebounds and youngsters breaking out right now. It would be nice if they were to solidify it with one signing or trade that turns some heads. I believe they will do something of note before the off-season is over, as there is still plenty of time left, and players that would improve the roster are still on the markets.