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Pirates unlikely to sign top starting pitcher, Huntington says

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Sawchik has some tidbits from Neal Huntington, and you don't need to read too deeply to see Huntington suggests the Pirates aren't likely to land a big-name pitching upgrade this winter.

"As we entered each season, from 2013 to 2015, the knock was we didn't have enough starting pitching," Huntington said. "I'm anticipating that will be the knock of the 2017 club entering the season. … Rarely will a small-market, small-revenue team go out and sign a top-of-the market starting pitcher. The ones that are successful develop their own or trade for (younger pitching)."

Huntington does add that the potential pursuit of a veteran arm will be treated as a "case-by-case situation," seemingly leaving the door open for a significant acquisition. But it certainly doesn't sound like the Bucs will even get particularly close to signing the best pitchers on the market.

That's no surprise. They never do, and the Francisco Liriano trade (in which they dumped the contract that came as close as they've gotten recently to a high-profile pitcher signing) strongly suggested it would be very unlikely that would change this year. But it's interesting, in this case, because Ivan Nova will be one of the top starters available, and the Pirates previously tried to extend him. It sounds unlikely they'll pursue him much further. Expect the Bucs to augment their rotation by signing a reclamation type (Andrew Cashner, who we discussed yesterday, would make sense) or making a trade.