Pittsburgh Pirates: Two Positions to Prioritize this Offseason

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Pittsburgh Pirates / Matt Brown/GettyImages

As the Pittsburgh Pirates finish the 2023 season, they have a very important offseason coming after. The team's young prospects have been making strides in the major leagues, and the future is beginning to take shape. However, to solidify their potential success in the 2024 season, the Pirates have two crucial areas that demand attention: veteran pitching and a first baseman with upside.

One undeniable aspect of any competitive baseball team is a reliable pitching staff, especially in a league as demanding as the MLB. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, the need for veteran-proven pitching is glaring. While their young arms show promise, the team would benefit immensely from experienced hurlers who can provide stability in the rotation and mentorship for the burgeoning talents. Fans saw this year how quickly pitching depth can dissipate. Players like JT Brubaker, Michael Burrows, and Vince Velasquez went down with Tommy-John. Then of course pitchers like Roansy Contreras and Luis Ortiz look to have regressed.

An effective veteran pitcher can not only eat innings but also teach the nuances of the game to the younger players. This leadership can be invaluable in shaping the mindset and mechanics of future stars. The team had that in 2022 with Jose Quintana and Rich Hill in 2023. By adding a seasoned arm to the rotation, the Pirates can significantly improve their pitching depth, reduce the strain on young arms, and bolster their overall performance on the mound. However, the pitcher they add should not be a rental like the two mentioned. But instead, someone who will be in the rotation for the next few years.

The other critical piece of the puzzle for the Pirates this offseason is securing a legitimate first baseman. While Carlos Santana was serviceable, the team should set their sights on a younger, proven talent with more potential upside. A dynamic first baseman can contribute not only defensively but also offensively, providing power in the heart of the lineup and anchoring the defense at the corner infield position.

The addition of a first baseman with a higher ceiling can help fix a hole in the lineup. They can bring an extra dimension to the lineup, improving run production and making life easier for the pitching staff. The Bucs have had a tough time filling this position for as long as I can remember. Bringing in a youthful first baseman who can grow alongside the team's prospects would be ideal, but one who is more proven than a prospect at this point.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates can effectively address these two critical areas – veteran pitching and a dynamic first baseman – their outlook for the 2024 season could be remarkably improved.

With the young prospects maturing and developing, the stage is set for success. However, success often hinges on the supporting cast, and by filling these vital positions, the Pirates can create a more balanced and competitive team.

There should be optimism that surrounds this team's future. The structure is indeed falling into place with the prospects coming up through the ranks. Yes, there are still questions as to how good some of these players will be. But now, it's time to build around them in areas that need help the most. With the right moves this offseason, the Pirates can aim higher, energize their fan base, and strive for a memorable 2024 season filled with promise and potential.

I did not include any potential players because the offseason is very unpredictable. Lots of questions about who will resign with their teams, who might be desginated for assignment, or who could be available via trade. Once the offseason gets moving a more clear picture will be painted of the potential markets.