Find Two Starting Pitchers
The Pirates basically ran the last 60-65 games with just Mitch Keller, Johan Oviedo, and a bunch of openers, long relief guys, and bulk pitchers filling in the last three rotation spots. Sure, they played slightly above .500, but both the longevity and stability of that strategy is not good. Acquiring starting pitching isn’t just a must, it should be a given. But they need to get more than just one SP. Two starters should be the minimum going into this off-season.
The free agent market has its options. Jordan Montgomery is at the top of my list. The lefty was great for both the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, pitching to a 3.20 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP in 188.2 innings. Aside from Montgomery, the likes of Kenta Maeda, Frankie Montas, Hyun Jin Ryu, Mike Clevinger, and Michael Lorenzen should also be on the Pirates’ radar.
The trade market has yet to fully develop, but there is some players you could preview being on the trading block. Two come from the San Diego Padres, that being Michael Wacha and Nick Martinez. The Padres are looking to cut salary, and assuming the Padres don’t decline either’s option, they will surely listen to offers on both of them. The Miami Marlins may listen to offers on some of their young pitchers as well to get some middle infield help, something the Pirates have an overabundance of. Other veterans like Kyle Freeland, Alex Cobb, Dylan Cease, Patrick Sandoval, Griffin Canning, and Paul Blackburn may also be listed as potential trade options.
There are two Japanese pitchers that will certainly get attention. That’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga. The right-handed Yamamoto is a superstar pitcher in Japan, while the left-handed Imanaga has been highly effective in Japan. Both will need to be posted, but the Pirates have hinted at being aggressive in the international market this year.
One starting pitcher is not enough. With two, that means the Pirates can go into Spring Training with four spots filled, and the fifth rotation spot as a competition between Bailey Falter, Quinn Priester, Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz, Jackson Wolf, or Andre Jackson. Having only one of those arms, instead of two fill the rotation gives you much more confidence going into next season.
I also believe the prospects, like Paul Skenes, Jared Jones, Anthony Solometo, Bubba Chandler, or Thomas Harrington could help fix any rotation woes later in the year. Plus the Pirates will see the return of both JT Brubaker and Mike Burrows about mid-way through the season. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that two starting pitchers is pretty much a must.