Where do the Pittsburgh Pirates stand, one week out from the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings?
Today marks one week until the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings kick off in earnest. With just seven days left, where do the Pittsburgh Pirates stand in terms of pursuing improvements across the diamond?
There is not much new that is trickling out of 115 Federal Street in terms of names bandied about for left-handed reliever help. The team still has interest in Jerry Blevins and Jake Diekman, and could also open up to some non-tenders such as Xavier Cedeno, who has piqued the club’s interest in the past.
The truth is, the relief market, and especially the lefty relief market, always carries a bit of a Wild West feel. Aggression counts in the reliever free agent market, and if the Pirates want to grab someone to complete their “super bullpen,” they had better act fast.
The left-handed relief market is a little lean, though there is a solid tier at the top that includes some quality pieces. Zach Britton and Andrew Miller represent the top of the market, of course, yet the tier below them has some intrigue to it. Tony Sipp and Justin Wilson are just two names in that “second tier” that can join Blevins and Diekman as possible fits for Pittsburgh.
If the Pirates decide they need relief help, but do not necessarily need it to be left-handed, their options open up considerably. In fact, the recent list of non-tendered RH RPs has some interesting names on it.
Check out WTM’s list of non-tenders here.
Full list of relief pitching major league free agents
Previous BD Target Profiles:
Still after infield help?
With the club having seemingly filled both its need for an outfielder and some infield stability with the Lonnie Chisenhall signing pushing Adam Frazier to second, it is hard to envision a scenario in which the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to see infield help.
Yet, should GM Neal Huntington look into his heart of hearts and see that Kevin Newman was rushed at best, and not an everyday major leaguer at worst, he might be swayed to go after some further infield help. Just don’t expect that help to be of the flashy variety. Asdrubal Cabrera would have made too much sense before the trade to bring in Erik Gonzalez, and Brian Dozier might have been a fit on a quickie, 1-year rebound deal before Chisenhall threw a wrench into that potential plan. This is all not to say that Erik Gonzalez is a better player than any of those names mentioned. Far from it. Yet, Huntington seems committed to giving Gonzalez every chance to latch on to an everyday role, be it steady at shortstop or around the diamond.
Full list of major league free agent shortstops
A rotation upgrade out of the question?
Some of you may have bought our book — Piratesguide 2018 — last season. It was a season preview book with analytical pieces and player notes for everyone on the 40-man. Well, we have started work on our 2019 edition, and I’ll give you a free sample now, this being our player page for Ivan Nova:
Felt good not to have to type that twice.
Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates CAN upgrade over Nova in their rotation. Should they?
Depends on who you ask, and each side is firmly entrenched in their positions. Proponents of ditching Nova now point to the fact that every team could always use an established starter, and Nova comes pre-packaged as a ready-made, low-commitment type. The upside for such teams would be then if Nova outperforms his projections, he could be flipped at the deadline.
That same argument can actually be used for those that think the Pirates should get every last bit of value from the right-hander. After all, he is one of the best fifth starters in baseball, and his value might be doubled at deadline time.
If Huntington has his mind set to improve the rotation, then Nova’s status will not be the hindrance to any potential deal. Nova would then be most likely dealt in a separate trade or signing, one in which the Pirates would probably have to pick up some of the tab.
So which starters are available? Well, Sonny Gray of course. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been quite outspoken on Gray’s Yankee-less fate.
The current slate of free agent starters has a glut of mid-market options, and we’ll be profiling some of those this week. Till then, why don’t you take a look and tell us who YOU would welcome to PNC Park?
With just one week away from the meetings, the Pittsburgh Pirates might not be as set as many think.