With the Paul Skenes Era on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Pirates must focus on capitalizing on the upcoming Skenes years
When opportunity knocks, be sure to answer – while true to life, it is even more true to sports. Franchises are always looking to build their rosters and give themselves a window to win. The trick is to spot that window and seize it when it’s there. The Pittsburgh Pirates hear Paul Skenes knocking at their door. Hopefully they recognize that opportunity is coming with him.
Let me first give the bad news that every Pirate fan knows but does not want to admit - Skenes will (likely) be a Yankee. Or maybe he will get picked up by the Dodgers, Red Sox, or some other team that wants to splash the cash to get a top of the rotation pitcher. It does not matter which large market team Skenes will ultimately go to, what matters is that eventually he will no longer wear black and gold.
This was the same when the Pirates drafted Gerrit Cole, who gave them 59 wins in 127 appearances before he left. Skenes has the potential to be a franchise pitcher like Stephen Strasburg. The kind of a player that can carry a team to the promised land of October baseball.
The Pirates just finished the 2023 season 76 wins. While this does not scream championship team, it is a 14 win improvement over the 62 in 2022 and shows that they are moving in the right direction. But more importantly, it shows the pieces are in place for the Pirates to become a contender. Skenes already looks like he could lead the Pirate rotation. Add in Mitch Keller and Johan Oviedo, who both showed strong signs in 2023, a line-up filled with young talent like Oneil Cruz, Endy Rodriguez, Henry Davis, Bryan Reynolds, and Ke'Bryan Hayes, and a down NL Central, the opportunity is there for the Pirates to make the post season in 2024.
The Kansas City Royals recognized their opportunity with a group of young talent and it resulted in them getting to back-to-back World Series and winning one. The Pirates should be aggressive this off-season and fill out their roster to give this team a chance to win. Skenes is giving them a window of a few years to win before he inevitably leaves - let’s see if the Pirates answer the door.