The Pirates were among the finalists for Brandon McCarthy, Tom Singer writes. McCarthy ended up agreeing to terms with the Dodgers. McCarthy will reportedly get four years at $12 million per season, while Francisco Liriano will get three years at $13 million per season, so getting Liriano (who evidently wanted to return) was a nice get for the Pirates, even though they'll pay a slightly higher average annual value than the Dodgers will pay for McCarthy.
That the Pirates would have pursued McCarthy is almost too obvious. They needed starting pitching, and McCarthy's gets tons of ground balls, had a much better xFIP than ERA last season, and wound up being in their price range. He would have been a very strong fit for the Pirates' program of ground balls and defensive shifts, although probably no better than Liriano, given McCarthy's injury history. And there was likely no way the Pirates would have signed both.