To the pleasure, or dismay, to fans, one sports media platform expects the Pittsburgh Pirates to look somewhat different next season.
Bleacher Report recently released its predictions for the Pirates’ 2023 Opening Day lineup and there are a lot of surprises to it, and not in a good way.
It’s obviously way too early to predict this stuff but I love the offseason and it’s something to talk about. Bleacher Report projected the Pirates’ opening day lineup and has the Bucs quite active in free agency. Thoughts on this? pic.twitter.com/4YGKinncrj— Pirates Talk (@PITPiratesChat) September 14, 2022
Let’s start with the obvious: Andrew McCutchen will not be back unless Bob Nutting gets a visit from the ghosts of baseball past, present, and future. Everyone thought he would be back this season — myself included — but that was kyboshed after Ben Cherington hinted that he was not interested in bringing back the former NL MVP.
Another thing that’s awful is having Michael Chavis as the starting first baseman. No slight against Chavis personally, but his inconsistencies at the plate this year have been a problem, especially against right-handed pitchers.
Lots of first basemen are expected to be free agents this offseason, including switch-hitter Josh Bell, who the Pirates dealt in an infamous trade with Washington. Please understand I’m not saying that the Pirates should sign Bell, but he’s just one option.
The next is Kevin Newman starting at 2B over Rodolfo Castro or Ji-hwan Bae. We get it, the Pirates still have hope for Newman, but it’s time to move on.
Another thing I notice are the free agents that we would sign. Robbie Grossman is a downgrade from the young outfielders in the system, notably Jack Suwinski and Cal Mitchell.
Same thing with Tyler Naquin. While he’s doing better than Grossman, the goal is to progress forward and not have more of the same. Meaning washed up veterans who take playing time away from the young guys should not be tolerated.
The only option I could see us doing is Tucker Barnhart, but even that is a stretch. All signs point towards Roberto Perez coming back, as both sides seem interested in that, so the only option Barnhart would have is being his back-up or Sunday starter.
It would be a slight upgrade from Tyler Heineman and even Jason Delay, who has shown promise defensively throughout the season.
Lastly, Kyle Gibson has been horrible outside of a successful 2021 season with the Phillies. If anything, he would be the typical “guy who we sign just to trade away” towards the deadline.
If we’re really trying to improve next year and if we’re trying to send out a team that one can stomach, we need to sign ACTUAL talent. Not washed-up has-beens who will either be DFA or traded away.
What do you think the Pirates will do this off-season, BD Nation?