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Links: The Pirates' pursuit of pitching

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Some links for a quiet weekend:

-P- Travis Sawchik guesses how the Pirates' offseason might go now that Russell Martin is off the market. The top priority, obviously, is likely to be a starting pitcher, and given the amount of money the Pirates appear to have set aside for Martin, Sawchik thinks free agents like Francisco Liriano, Brandon McCarthy and Ervin Santana should be in the Bucs' price range. That makes sense to me, and Liriano or McCarthy, in particular, would fit the Pirates well.

Sawchik also offhandedly mentions Michael Morse as a possibility at first base. Morse would be an upgrade over Pedro Alvarez against lefties, but given the season Morse just had, I doubt he's going to settle for being the short end of a platoon. And as a starter, I'm not a fan. I feel like Morse comes up as a possibility for the Pirates every offseason, and every offseason I shudder, and some years Morse hits well and produces good value anyway. But the guy is a disaster on defense, which limits his upside even when he's hitting. Steamer projects Morse to produce just 0.3 WAR next year, half a win worse than Alvarez. Perhaps Morse could do better playing first base most of the time, though, as he would with the Pirates -- he does his worst defensive work in the outfield.

-P- Bill Brink thinks that it's more likely the Pirates will re-sign Edinson Volquez than Liriano. If re-signing Volquez is the biggest move the Pirates make the rest of this offseason, I won't be thrilled about it.

-P- You've probably already seen it, but check out Ben Lindbergh's transaction trees article if you haven't. The earliest transaction from which the Pirates are still (theoretically) getting value is the drafting of Rob Mackowiak in 1996.

-P- Jeff Sullivan discusses the market for pitch framing in light of the Rays' recent decision to designate Jose Molina for assignment. He makes an observation similar to the one I made on the podcast this week -- for some reason, teams don't have to pay for framing. We all talk about it, and most analysts seem to agree that it's important, and yet the Pirates were able to get Francisco Cervelli and the Astros were able to get Hank Conger without paying much. The Blue Jays paid heavily for Martin, but Martin has other skills.