Three things the Pittsburgh Pirates can do to improve the bullpen

The Pittsburgh Pirates could immediate improve the bullpen by doing these three things asap.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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Pirates Recall Carmen Mlodzinski

Carmen Mlodzinski was drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft as the Bucs' competitive balance pick. Although Mlodzinski started of his career as a starting pitcher, he transitioned to the bullpen last season. Despite the change in role, Mlodzinski took it well and had an outstanding second half for the Bucs.

All told, Mlodzinski pitched 36 innings in the Majors for the Pirates, working to a 2.25 ERA, 4.03 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP. While Mlodzinski did not have an overly impressive strikeout rate (22.4) or walk rate (11.8%), he was great at limiting home runs with an 0.75 HR/9. Plus he had just a 4% barrel rate, as well as an improved 24.8% K% after the All-Star break.

Like Borucki, by the end of the year, Mlodzinski was a go-to high-leverage arm for the Pirates. He allowed just two earned runs in the month of September. After allowing two earned runs on June 22nd, his fourth Big League game, he settled things down, only allowing six more with 31 K's, one home run allowed, and 17 walks through his final 31.1 innings. According to Baseball Reference, Mlodzinski's opponents had a .225/.297/.288 triple-slash in late and close games against him.

Mlodzinski, projected to play an important role to start 2024, was shut down in the middle of Spring Training with an injury. But he's since returned to action and has pitched nine innings between Bradenton and Indianapolis. 

The Pirates were understandably cautious with Mlodzinski to open the year and optioning him gave him the chance to get stretched out. You don't want another David Bednar situation happening in the Major Leagues. But now that Mlodzinski is stretched out, it's time to see him back in the bigs. Along with relieving some pressure from Colin Holderman, he can also take some stress off of Aroldis Chapman too, who, like mentioned earlier, definitely needs a much-required breather.