Pittsburgh Pirates: Under-the-Radar Pitchers to Target in Free Agency

The Pittsburgh Pirates face a crucial off-season, and securing these five pitchers is imperative if they aspire to transform into contenders.
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Baltimore Orioles v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages
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No. 3 Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto didn't pitch much in 2023, but when he did, he struggled. It seems likely the Marlins will decline his 2024 club option worth $10.5 million and instead will give him $2.5 million as a buyout. Cueto wouldn't be new to Pittsburgh as he pitched against the Pirates in the 2013 Wild Card Game versus the Pirates, in which the Reds lost after Cueto gave up four runs.

Cueto is now 37 years old, but he still has much more left in the tank after his amazing 2022 campaign with the Chicago White Sox, which earned him a contract with the Marlins. But in 2023, he started the season off hurt and didn't get much playing time.

When he did pitch in 2023, he started ten games, played in thirteen, and finished one of them. He only pitched in 52 innings to an ERA of 6.02, which was kind of to be expected when you play hurt.

The Pirates are hoping to make the playoffs soon, and Cueto has playoff experience and even helped the Kansas City Royals win the World Series in 2015 when he threw a complete game, only giving up one run in the 2015 World Series.