Rob Bietempfel tweets that the guy at the top of the Pirates' list this offseason is Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa. I'll believe it when I see it - De La Rosa is clearly in less demand than Cliff Lee, but so far he's been linked not only to the Rockies but to the Yankees, Rangers, Brewers and Nationals as well. He's only 29 and has had two straight good years in Colorado, so I could easily see him getting a three-year contract worth $10 million or so, particularly after Ted Lilly got three years and $33 million from the Dodgers.
I like De La Rosa well enough, but that's a lot of money to spend for a team in the Pirates' position. De La Rosa has had xFIPs of 4.06, 3.76 and 3.77 in the past three years, respectively, showing how he might do with a neutral defense. His actual ERAs the past three years are 4.92, 4.38 and 4.22. The key reason for the higher 2008 ERA was that ... wait for it ... the Rockies had a terrible defense in 2008. De La Rosa is also a Type A free agent, so he would cost the Pirates their second-round pick, assuming the Rockies offer him arbitration, as they should.
I'd be happy, on one level, if the Pirates managed to sign a high-profile free agent like De La Rosa, but the devil will be in the details here. Such a move would be much more likely to work out if the Pirates can improve their defense. Otherwise, they could be paying a high price, in terms of money and in losing a draft pick, for a guy whose talents don't mesh too well with the organization's.