Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Moves That Will Pay Dividends In 2024

These three Pirates acquisitions will pay dividends in 2024.
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Acquiring Marco Gonzales

The Pirates' first major move for pitching was acquiring Marco Gonzales from the Atlanta Braves. Gonzales is coming off an injury-shortened season. However, given his track record, he could be exactly what the Pirates need: a durable pitcher who can provide not just a boat load of innings but quality ones at that.

Last season, Gonzales only pitched 50 innings with a 5.22 ERA and 1.46 WHIP but a much better-looking 4.28 FIP. But Gonzales' numbers are inflated by the small sample size of innings pitched. In his third to last game of the season, Gonzales allowed eight earned runs in just one and two-thirds of an inning. Outside of this one outing, his nine other starts saw him pitch to a 3.91 ERA, 3.86 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP.

But Gonzales has a very strong track record. From 2018 through 2022, the veteran Southpaw owned a 3.94 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP. His 1.26 HR/9 was about average, and he had a sub-par 17.7% strikeout rate. However, his 5.9% walk rate was the 18th lowest among pitchers with at least 400 innings pitched across these five seasons.

Gonzales had a 96 ERA-, making him slightly better than the league average in run prevention. But he also had the 12th most starts made at 131 and ranked 11th in innings pitched at 765.2 frames. He averaged about 30 starts and 175 innings pitched each 162-game season.

Based on video from Driveline this off-season, Gonzales looks back and ready to contribute to the Pirates. He mostly worked on strength and conditioning, but Driveline is known for pitchers adding velocity at their facility, so maybe he can add a half-tick to his stuff upon his return. Either way, if the Pirates get a 3.80-4.00 ERA from Gonzales with his typical durability, he'll be a lifesaver for a pitching staff that needs an arm that they can rely on.