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Andrew Cashner a potential free-agent fit for Pirates

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

MLBTR's list of this winter's top free agents only lists one, righty Andrew Cashner, going to the Pirates. (Ivan Nova gets four years and $52 million from the Angels, while Neftali Feliz, Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce all also head to western teams on multi-year contracts.)

It's not surprising that the Pirates aren't expected to be heavily involved in the free agent market. Their clearest area of need is the rotation, and there aren't going to be many good starting pitchers available. If they do sign one, though, Cashner seems like the kind of guy they'd go for. He's coming off an awful 5.25 ERA season and hasn't really built upon the promise he showed early in his career in San Diego, so he won't cost much, and there's a decent chance he'll be available on a one-year deal.

At the same time, he's got a lot going for him -- he's only 30, he's a big guy, he's always gotten his fair share of ground balls, and he still throws in the mid-90s (although his velocity his dropped over the past several years). The Pirates' reclamation projects aren't all hard throwers who get ground balls, but Cashner's basic profile certainly seems like one they can work with, especially since he was widely perceived as having the upside of an ace early in his career. The Pirates would seem like a good fit for Cashner, as well, due to their reputations as pitcher-fixers. The examples of Nova, J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano strongly suggest he'll be able to cash in if the Bucs help turn him into a good starter. Don't be surprised if they're in on him this winter.