The Pirates have most of their core under control for 2017 and don't figure to be huge players in the free agent market themselves. A few of their players, though, are set to hit free agency, and most will be more valuable this winter than they were last year. Here are a few guesses at what they might get, probably from other teams, since it's fairly likely that all four will sign elsewhere. The only Pirates big-league free agent not covered here is Ryan Vogelsong, who appears unlikely to get a major league deal. Feel free to bookmark this page to mock later.
Ivan Nova. Nova has everything possible going for him. There's the weak free agent market, which features Rich Hill and no other top starting pitching. There's the fact that he's just 29. There's the fact that, this weekend's start aside, he's mostly done brilliantly since being traded to the Pirates at the deadline. And there's J.A. Happ, who established a precedent for a pitcher in Nova's situation continuing to succeed after leaving Pittsburgh. Happ got three years and $36 million, and Nova could well get more, especially since he's younger. A slightly bulkier three-year deal is a possibility, but he might even get four. Prediction: Four years, $48 million.
Neftali Feliz. Feliz's performance has justified the $3.9 million deal he received from the Pirates last winter, although it looked at the time like the Bucs might have overpaid, and Feliz's sketchy track record and tendency to allow hard contact might limit his upside this winter. He's still just 28, though, and his fastball velocity (96.1 MPH this season, on average) and strikeout rate will make him an attractive target. John Axford, who has a different profile but a similar mix of clear weaknesses and tantalizing strengths, got $10 million last winter. Feliz could wind up in similar territory. Prediction: Two years, $11 million.
Sean Rodriguez. Rodriguez got $2.5 million last season and has somehow batted .265/.348/.523 in 297 plate appearances this year while playing seven positions. That's the sort of season that's supposed to get you paid. I'm not sure how sustainable teams will think his breakout is, though -- he's already 31 and has a long history of hitting for low averages and low on-base percentages. This year, his walk rate has spiked from 2.1 percent to 10.1; I have no idea what to make of that. Rodriguez hasn't been a starter in quite awhile, so teams might treat him as somewhat of a luxury item. He's also a unique player who doesn't have many obvious comparables against whom to measure his value as a free agent. I'm flying blind here. Prediction: Two years, $10 million.
Matt Joyce. Like Rodriguez, Joyce had an unexpectedly great 2016, batting .246/.407/.478 in 263 plate appearances. He doesn't have Rodriguez's defensive versatility, but unlike Rodriguez, he was a consistently good hitter before last season. His consistently high walk rates also give him somewhat of a floor even if his 2016 season turns out to be a mirage. Some team could sign him to a relatively cheap deal with the idea that he could be the big end of a platoon at one of the corner outfield spots. The Pirates obviously can't really use him as a part-time starter, which means he'll probably head elsewhere. He's already 32, but a 32-year-old Chris Young got two years and $13 million last year after a worse offensive season. Also, in 2013-2014, three lefty-hitting outfielders with profiles at least somewhat similar to Joyce's -- David DeJesus, Nate McLouth and David Murphy -- each got two years and between $10.5 million and $12 million. Prediction: Two years, $13 million.