Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Bounce Back Starting Pitching Candidate to Target in Free Agency

The 2023 has been nothing but a disappointment for Luis Severino, but this could contribute to hime being an offseason target for the Pirates

Washington Nationals v New York Yankees
Washington Nationals v New York Yankees / New York Yankees/GettyImages
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While he has struggled this season, right-handed pitcher Luis Severino could be a target of the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason

While it's uncommon for the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign a pitcher long-term, they do sign formerly good pitchers to 1-year contracts to help reset their free agent value. In 2023, the Pirates signed Rich Hill and Vince Velasquez to these types of deals.

In 2022, coming off a terrible season, the Pirates signed José Quintana before dealing him at the deadline. He turned back into the quality pitcher he was in previous seasons before falling off, earning him a 2-year, $26 million contract with the Mets.

In 2021, the Pirates signed Tyler Anderson, who was coming off some disappointing seasons, helping him turn it around. They traded him to the Phillies, but that trade fell through, ending with him getting sent to the Mariners. After showing he could be a serviceable pitcher again, the Dodgers signed him to a 1-year, $8 million contract, turning him into an All-Star who then signed a 3-year, $39 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels this past offseason.

In early 2019, it was announced that righty Luis Severino signed a 4-year, $40 million contract with a 5th-year option with the New York Yankees. Around a month later, it was revealed he would miss the start of the season due to inflammation in his shoulder. Later, he was diagnosed with a grade 2 lat strain. With constant injuries and the need for rehab, he made his 2019 debut on September 17th and only finished the season with 3 starts in the regular season and 2 in the postseason.

On February 25th, 2020, it was revealed that Severino would have to undergo Tommy John surgery after tearing his UCL, which ended his 2020 season and could potentially cause him to miss some or most of 2021. After being on the injured list for 706 days, on September 20th, 2021, he was finally able to pitch again. During this time, he pitched in 4 games out of the bullpen, throwing 6 shutout innings.

In 2022, Severino had an injury-filled bounce-back season, posting a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts with a record of 7-3. He was looking like his former self, but only pitching 102 innings is not good for a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

In 2023, Severino struggled badly, now having his worst career season. His odds of signing a new contract with the Yankees, who are known for being a World Series or bust team, are in jeopardy. It's unknown as of yet if they are willing to take another chance on a struggling pitcher who keeps suffering from injuries.

On the bright side, Luis Severino is only 29, and after next season, he will be only 30. So, the odds of him being able to secure a new contract if he can bounce back are likely. However, it just depends on what team would want to sign him because he is seen as more risky, like Jacob deGrom.

All of this could culminate in Severino being a target of the Pirates in free agency this offseason. The Pirates will be in need of starting pitching help in the offseason and Severino fits the bill of the type of starting pitcher they typically add. His name certainly could be one to watch.

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