Which off-season loss could hurt the Pirates the most?

Which of the Pirates' off-season losses could come back and hurt them the most?

Mar 6, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA;  Oakland Athletics right fielder Miguel Andujar (22) hits a three
Mar 6, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Miguel Andujar (22) hits a three / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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Which of the Pittsburgh Pirates' off-season losses could come back and hurt them the most?

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost a total of ten players who appeared for the Major League club last season from the start of November to the start of Spring Training, along with a handful of minor league free agents. Nearly all of the players the Pirates lost weren't of any major significance. Most were depth guys or had injury concerns going into 2024, but which ones could come back and bite them the most?

Among the position players, Miguel Andujar has the likeliest chance of making the Pirates regret their decision to let him go. The former Rookie of the Year candidate had a strong month of September, batting .302/.351/.528 with a .374 wOBA and 134 wRC+. Andujar had a K% of just 14% with a semi-respectable 7% walk rate. He also hit for some pop with two dingers, six two-baggers, and a .254 ISO in the 54-plate appearance sample size.

This was after he batted .338/.404/.536 with a .411 wOBA and 135 wRC+ at Triple-A Indianapolis. His 11.8% strikeout rate was the 6th lowest among any Triple-A batter with 300+ trips to the plate. He also walked nearly as often with a 10.8% BB%. Andujar had gone yard 16 times with 30 doubles in 465 plate appearances, leading to a .198 isolated slugging percentage. He split his time between the corner outfield and first base for the Indians.

The Pirates decided to put Andujar on outright waivers with the hope he could sneak through. After all, he was projected to make about $2.2 million in arbitration, and in 2023, it was the first time since his 2018 rookie campaign that he had shown any semblance of production at the plate in the bigs. The Pirates had already passed him through waivers two other times in 2023; however, this time, he was claimed by the Oakland A's.

Who knows if Andujar can ever recapture his '18 form or look anything like he did in September or Triple-A last season? He has played a grand total of 144 games dating back to 2019. At the very least, the A's are one of the few teams who can give Andujar regular playing time to prove himself. For what it's worth, he's off to a great start with Oakland in Spring Training, with eight hits and two home runs in 20 plate appearances.