First Pitch: This is Not a Good Offseason For the Pirates to Play Cheap

Chris Archer is not worth $11 M to the Pirates in 2021.

He’s coming off thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, which is very difficult to return from. His last good season was in 2018, right up to the point when he was traded to the Pirates.

The odds that you’re going to get a good performance from Archer in 2021 are low.

That’s the case with a lot of reclamation projects. There’s nothing to say that Archer won’t be good next year. He might be picked up by someone else at this point and bounce back to his old self. But the odds matter.

I thought it would make sense for the Pirates to go after Archer. Their payroll without him is expected to be around $60 M. The Pirates won’t be the only team crying poor this offseason after a pandemic shortened season, and uncertainty for what the 2021 season will hold. The problem is that the Pirates were already crying poor before the pandemic came around, and their payroll is at a comically low point right now.

It’s not that the Pirates need to specifically go after Archer and hope for good results. They just need to go after someone. This offseason looks like it’s going to provide a lot of reclamation projects and a lot of values on the open market. The Pirates aren’t in position to be contenders in 2021. They are in position to add some guys to the roster and flip them to contenders at the trade deadline.

This approach won’t lead to profits in 2021. It might lead to profits in 2023 and beyond, in the sense that the players acquired at the deadline could make bigger impacts for a future team.

Chris Archer might not have been the best bet to land pieces for the future. I can excuse the Pirates for declining his option and letting him walk.

It would be inexcusable if they went with another low-key offseason, with their additions being of the Jarrod Dyson variety, and their payroll being kept low while passing up potential trade chips to help the future of this club.

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