Yes, I know. They never sign anyone. But Neal is gone! We can be a little optimistic right?
Despite Big Bad Bob still being at the helm of this sinking ship, the Pirates are never truly quiet during the offseason. By that, I mean they always sign somebody. In the past this has amounted to washed up versions of former average-at-best players and the few and far between bigger name signings as their contention window widened.
This offseason, the Bucs find themselves at a crossroads. Do they add to the existing roster with a few impact free agents and build around a young core in 2020? Or do they sign some lackluster guys meant to fill out the roster during a total rebuild around that same young core, hoping to compete in 2022 and later?
Again, who knows. But I’m willing to bet that this team with a new GM will be somewhat active as the winter meetings and spring training approach.
As I said in previous articles, the Pirates are in desperate need of rotation help. Beleaguered by injuries and bombarded by underperformance, the starting rotation could use a 3rd or 4th starter type to anchor what was a mediocre rotation in 2019. MLB Trade Rumors has heard murmurs on such an addition.
With a few bounce-back performances by the likes of Chris Archer and Trevor Williams along with a progressing Joe Musgrove, a name like Drew Smyly would be a perfectly-Pirate addition to the mix. Boasting a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings pitched in 2019, the lefty could be an interesting reclamation project for whoever that new pitching coach is going to be. As his former contract was only for 2 years and $10 million, he fits right into the organization’s budget constraints of the past (and apparently of the future as well).
If I were the Pirates, I would also look for corner OF/IF help in the form of Eric Thames. With the Brewers declining his option, Thames could serve as a 4th OF type or as a starter in the midst of an uncertain future for Gregory Polanco. His .247/.346/..851 slash in 2019 was bolstered by 25 homers and a .505 slugging percentage. Coming off a 3-year, $16 million deal, Thames could fit nicely into this roster.
Again, no one quite knows what the Pirates are going to do next with this roster. Without a GM or a manager, the club is stuck in no man’s land for the foreseeable future. That being said, who do you think the Pirates could, or rather should target this offseason? What is the best way forward?
Only time will tell for certain.