Now is the best time as ever for the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire players
The market has mostly gotten off to a slow start this off-season. We’re well into November, and the three biggest moves include the Phillies signing Aaron Nola, the Braves trading for Aaron Bummer, and the Braves also trading for Jackson Kowar. Nola is about the only ‘blockbuster’ deal made thus far. But just because this off-season has not been high-octane like last off-season doesn’t mean the Pittsburgh Pirates should sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen.
The Pirates need to be aggressive this off-season, and fill the holes on their roster. It’s not a perfect roster, but they can definitely strengthen it by being aggressive in trades and free agency. Right now is the best time as ever, and for multiple reasons.
The first reason is both the free agent and trade market holds players that will fix some of the Pirates’ most pressing needs. The Pirates need some starters, and I would love for them to land one of the higher-end options. If anything, now is the time to at least give 100% effort to signing one of the top options. Go after Eduardo Escobar, see what Shota Imanaga wants, kick the tires on Jordan Montgomery. Even if that’s not entirely realistic, there are plenty of other quality mid-tier options, like Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, Sean Manaea, Yarriel Rodriguez, or Wade Miley.
The trade market also has its options, like Dylan Cease, Shane Bieber, Tyler Glasnow, Corbin Burnes, or one of the myriad of young arms the Seattle Mariners have. It’s not as if there aren't any potential players out there for the Pirates to make calls about and go after. Many of them could solve the Pirates’ biggest need, that being starters, and decent ones at that.
The Pirates also need a bat, either a right fielder, and/or someone who can handle first or second base. Once again, there are options out there for them to solve this. Imagine going into next year with Jung-Hoo Lee in right field. But even settling for Jason Heyward would be a good fit, as you’re getting a good hitter, and one of the best defensive outfielders of this generation. The Pirates could get bold, and fill first base with Rhys Hoskins, or Jeimer Candelario, but guys such as Justin Turner, Carlos Santana, or Brandon Belt represent quality veteran options.
The second reason is the fruits of the rebuild are starting to blossom. Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero debuting was a sign of this rebuild starting to turn a corner. They were the first big pieces Cherington acquired at the start of the rebuild in 2019-2020. Over the last two seasons, prospects including Henry Davis, Jack Suwinski, Endy Rodriguez, Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz, and Jared Triolo have lost their prospect status. Sure, it's been a mixed bag, but these are the guys you need to build around. Help them take the next step, and make them part of the future core.
The third reason is Cherington could be a trailblazer for this off-season; he still has a chance to topple one of the first dominos. I guess you could say that the Phillies made the first big move, and while that is true, the Pirates can still make a statement by making one of the first big moves. Set the tone of the off-season early, show both fans and competitors you mean business.
I don’t know if Ben Cherington reads our stuff. I’d like to imagine he’s at least run into our articles a few times, intentionally or unintentionally. But in the off-chance he sees this, I would like Cherington to know that he needs to not sit on the sidelines this off-season. Don’t go for the one-year veterans like you did last year. That only worked last off-season because 2023 was a ‘testing the waters’ sort of year. You need to dive straight into the pool this year. Now is the time to build on a budding young core.