The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching challenges deepened as they reportedly missed out on another potential addition to their roster. The Pirates were said to be in the running for right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa, following their interest in Shota Imanaga. However, the team failed to secure either pitcher, leaving them in a precarious situation for the upcoming season.
The Mets recently claimed Max Kranick off waivers from the Pirates, after he was placed on them to make room for veteran starter Martin Perez. Simultaneously, the Pirates were reportedly in talks with Uwasawa, but the right-hander opted for a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. This comes as a double blow for the Pirates, who were also unsuccessful in their pursuit of Imanaga.
Kranick, who made his Major League debut in 2021, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2022, limiting his appearances in 2023 to just a few minor league starts. In his limited Big League work Kranick has posted a 5.5 ERA in 43 innings of work. Despite a bumpy major league track record, Kranick has shown promise in the minors, pitching 344 1/3 innings with a 3.55 ERA.
Uwasawa, with a solid 3.19 earned run average over nine seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), chose the Rays over the Pirates. Despite his consistent performance, Uwasawa settled for a minor league pact, adding an unexpected twist to the Pirates' pitching plans. Earlier this offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates had shown interest in Imanaga, but he secured a significant $53 million guarantee with another division rival Chicago Cubs.
As the Pittsburgh Pirates watch two potential pitching additions slip through their fingers, and a former prospect moves on, the team faces increased pressure to address their pitching needs.
They sure have seemed to be "in" on a lot of players yet the offseason has remained very uninspiring. Hopefully, they continue to find a way to make a more significant addition.