Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Team Potentially Interested in Veteran Rotation, Lineup Boosts

Could the Pirates be interested in these two veteran free agents?
Sep 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Boston Red Sox starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers
Sep 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers / Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Network's Jon Heyman is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in veteran free agents James Paxton and Carlos Santana

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Pittsburgh Pirates could be interested in two veteran free agents. One of these free agents is yet another left-handed starting pitcher, while the other is a player that the Pirates are very familiar with.

These two free agents are left-handed starting pitcher James Paxton and first baseman Carlos Santana.

Paxton pitched 96 innings in 19 starts with the Boston Red Sox last season. In these 96 innings Paxton posted a 4.50 ERA, 4.68 FIP, 8.0% walk rate, and a 24.6% strikeout rate. Paxton was worth a 1.1 WAR last season, his highest since 2019.

In recent seasons injuries have been a major issue for Paxton. After just 24 pitches and 1.1 innings, Paxton's 2021 season ended as he required Tommy John surgery. After missing all of the 2022 season while working his way back from surgery, while hamstring and knee injuries led to a pair of injured list stints last season.

While the Pirates need more starting pitching help, Paxton is not the help they need. At best, he is a back end of the rotation arm. The Pirates need to add a legitimate top of the rotation arm at this point, not a third or fourth no. 4/5 starter.

Aa for Santana, he started his 2023 season with the Pirates and quickly became a leader in the Pirate clubhouse, as well as a fan favorite. Santana was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline.

When Santana was traded he immediately expressed an interest in re-joining the Pirates for the 2024 season. With these latest rumors it appears that interest still exists on Santana's end, and that the interest may be mutual.

It would be interesting to see where Santana may fit in with the Pirates. At this point in his career Santana's two best assests are his ability to get on base and his first base defense. Due to his glove, it's hard to envision a scenario where he wouldn't play first base.

With that said, could a reunion with Santana point toward Andrew McCutchen playing right field? The Pirates still need another outfielder, if Santana is broguht back that could bump Rowdy Tellez to designated hitter, and McCutchen to right field.

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