The next free agent one of the writers predicts the Pirates to land is LHP Sean Manaea. The lefty was used both out of the SF Giants’ rotation and bullpen, working to a 4.44 ERA but 3.90 FIP and 1.24 WHIP. Manaea struck out 25.7% of the batters he faced with an 8.4% walk rate and 1.06 HR/9 rate.
Manaea struggled out of the gates, and it took until May 22nd, until he had a scoreless outing. But once he got settled in, he was a quality arm with a 3.40 ERA, 3.04 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP. The lefty still carried a quality 25.8% strikeout rate but cut his walk rate to just 7.1% and his HR/9 below 1.00 to just 0.6. That made up the last 90 innings of his season.
Manaea had a highly productive fastball and changeup. He adopted a sweeper over his traditional slider, and it was a third highly effective pitch for him. Unsurprisingly, he started to pitch much better once he utilized his sweeper over his slider.
MLB Trade Rumors currently estimates that Manaea will sign for two years at $22 million, making his AAV $11 million a season. Manaea recently opted out of the final year of his deal, valued at $12.5 million. While this deal would see him sacrifice $1.5 million of his salary in 2024, it would earn him more in the long run. I could definitely see the Pirates going after Manaea. MLB Trade Rumors ranks the lefty as the 35th best free agent available.