In this pivotal offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's high time for the team to step up to the plate and make some game-changing moves. While we've seen the Pirates display a bit more aggressiveness in recent offseasons, it falls short of what's needed to turn the tide for this struggling franchise. With a payroll that's scraping the bottom of the league, it's time for Bob Nutting to open his wallet wide and address the glaring weaknesses in the roster head-on.
Players like Jose Quintana, Daniel Vogelbach, Rich Hill, and Carlos Santana have all added value to the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, upon them being signed the expectation was for them to hopefully bounce back and net the Pittsburgh Pirates something at the Trade Deadline. While this approach has been successful in a sense, it is time to move on from that being the main driving philosophy entering free agency.
General Manager Ben Cherington faces a crucial challenge this offseason: surrounding the young talents on the team with seasoned veterans. One of the most glaring issues is the starting rotation, an area where the Pirates have been notably lacking. It's time to break free from the cycle of wishful thinking and start investing in top-tier starting pitchers.
The team has several prominent 40-man roster trade candidates such as Nick Gonzales, Jared Triolo, Cal Mitchell, and Canaan-Smith Njigba. These players have all had opportunities at the Big League level and have not been able to seize a position in the lineup. So maybe a trade should also be in the works to sure up the team's rotation.
In the world of baseball, the age-old saying "You get what you pay for" rings true, and that's glaringly evident in the Pirates' struggles on the mound. They have hardly invested in MLB level starting pitching and it is showing. The team currently is using openers for 3 of the 5 rotation spots. Part of this also falls on the Organizations' inability to develop legitimate starting pitching. Pitchers like Roansy Contreras and Luis Ortiz have taken steps back in their development. To nurture the development of their young talent, the team must invest in proven talent, especially for the rotation. Quality pitchers don't just make an impact on the field; they also can help set an example for the young players and how to go about their business.
This isn't about reckless spending; it's about making strategic investments that position the Pirates for future success. Building a championship-caliber team isn't an overnight process, but the first step is acknowledging the necessity of meaningful expenditure. While this front office has made a lot of positive moves they also need to start making more impactful ones.