MLB Trade Rumors has released their top 50 free agents of the offseason, and 4 of them have been connected to the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB Trade Rumors recently released their top 50 free agents for the 2023-2024 off-season. Their list also included predictions from two of their writers and site runner/owner Tim Dierkes. Of the top 50 free agents, they predict the Pittsburgh Pirates to be potential suitors for four of the free agents.
The highest ranking is Jack Flaherty. The right-hander is coming off a mediocre season, pitching to a 4.99 ERA and 1.58 WHIP but a more respectable 4.36 FIP. Flaherty’s 10.2% walk rate was below average, though his 22.8% strikeout rate sat right around the league average, and his HR/9 of 1.06 was also better than average. Flaherty was above average in limiting hard contact, as he was in the 73rd percentile of exit velocity, as well as the 61st percentile of barrel rate and 56th percentile of hard-hit rate.
Although his ERA was poor, his underlying numbers were about league average. He had a 4.36 FIP and xFIP, 4.53 SIERA, and a DRA- clocking in right at league average at 100. Flaherty is also still young, as 2024 will only be his age-28 season.
It wasn’t all that long ago either that he was considered one of baseball’s best pitchers. In 2018-2019, he combined for 61 starts, a 3.01 ERA, and +6.9 fWAR (average of 3.6 fWAR per 180 IP). Flaherty has suffered multiple injuries over the past few seasons, and 2023 was the first time since his 2019 breakout he was able to stay relatively healthy.
Of the three writers, one predicts him to land with the Pirates. MLB Trade Rumors also estimates that Flaherty will sign a three-year/$40 million deal, which comes out to an AAV of $13.3 million. MLB Trade Rumors ranks the starter as the 23rd best player. While Flaherty’s season was a down year, he was able to stay healthy and certainly has rebound potential.
The one thing I will say is that I would rather see them go after Seth Lugo than Flaherty. Lugo is ranked as the 19th best free agent available, and they have him making $42 million across three seasons. That is a difference of less than $700,000 a season. If the difference ends up being that minimal, I see the Pirates going after Lugo over Flaherty.