As the Pittsburgh Pirates navigate the 2023-2024 offseason, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the team with starting pitcher Johan Oviedo grappling with a right elbow issue. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports discussions about the possibility of Tommy John surgery, though no formal decision has been reached.
In the recently concluded 2023 season, Oviedo's performance painted a mixed picture with a 9-14 record and a 4.31 ERA in 32 starts. Over 177.2 innings, he struck out 158 batters but faced challenges, prompting concerns about his health heading into the offseason. Oviedo had some really good starts but would see his ERA balloon here and there due to just some really tough starts. He would throw a 6-8-inning game and look like an emerging ace. Then the next start out he would give up 4 earned runs in 2 innings pitched.
What makes this sting even more is the fact that Oviedo was brought in as an important part of a trade. Notably, the Pirates acquired Oviedo during the 2022 trade deadline from the St. Louis Cardinals. This move, exchanging Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton for Oviedo and minor league infielder Malcom Nunez, looked very good at the time for the Bucs.
As the offseason unfolds, the Pirates find themselves at a crossroads. Oviedo's uncertain health adds complexity to the team's roster planning and raises questions about their pitching strategy for the upcoming season. The decision on whether Oviedo undergoes surgery will significantly impact the team's pitching rotation and overall performance. The team already needed to add pitching this offseason, this makes it an even bigger and more pressing need.
The 2023-2024 offseason, which initially held promise for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is off to a tough start.
Off-seasons are about hope and adding talent, but in this case, it is bad news for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hopefully, Ben Cherington does what he needs to this offseason.