As of late, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been heavily involved in filling out both the coaching and management staffs but have remained relatively quiet in terms of adding and evaluating player personnel. While slow and steady may win the race in the cases of rebuilding franchises, in my opinion the Pirates cannot afford to wait any longer to fill out positions of need on the roster. The outfield, starting pitching, and even catching positions need bolstered desperately; while some minor moves like the signing of catcher Luke Maile have begun the retooling process, general manager Ben Cherington is seemingly slow-walking the process of adding meaningfully to the 26-man roster.
Then comes the issue of center fielder Starling Marte; while talks with the New York Mets and allegedly the Arizona Diamondbacks were heating up during this year’s winter meetings regarding the long-tenured Bucco, negotiations stalled out by the time the Rule 5 Draft rolled around at week’s end. Whether the Pirates’ asking price was too high or teams’ interest soured in Marte, Cherington should be looking to revamp talks with both teams and more as spring training approaches. Waiting until teams become desperate to sign a talent like Marte may be a thoughtful strategy to acquire the best haul of prospects/major league-ready talent, but Cherington also runs the risk of teams pulling out of talks for cheaper or more readily-available players.
In this month’s version of Ask Bucs Dugout, I want your thoughts and questions about the Pirates’ off-season thus far. How do you feel about the coaching and management acquisitions? Are you okay with the limited amount of player changes so far this year? What would you like to see as spring training approaches in the way of trades/acquisitions?