The Pirates have already been active this offseason, adding two players via waivers this week.
Those two players are right-handed pitcher Eric Hanhold and outfielder Greg Allen. Neither player is an overly exciting addition on the surface, as is the case with almost every player claimed off of waivers.
I’d expect the Pirates to make more of these moves in the next few days, as more players will hit waivers with teams adjusting and getting closer to setting their offseason rosters. This wouldn’t be new for the Pirates.
Ben Cherington has been busy on the waiver wire, with a lot of players rotating through the final few 40-man spots. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hanhold or Allen hit waivers by the end of the offseason, as the Pirates try to sneak them through and outright them to Triple-A.
Both players represent a need for the Pirates. They lack pitching and outfield depth, so any chance at help is a welcome addition.
The offseason is still young, and I’d only expect these types of additions at this point. That said, if the Pirates are looking to improve from one of the worst teams in the game in 2022, they’ll need bigger impact additions at those positions than waiver claims.
I don’t expect this offseason to really take off until the calendar flips to 2022. At some point early next year, I’d expect most teams to be making their biggest moves. Time will tell if the Pirates are ready to make bigger moves than we’ve seen so far — either in this limited offseason or in previous ones.
If what we see is just the same old high-quantity approach to low-risk moves, then we could probably write 2022 off as another rebuilding year.
However, if the Pirates start to increase their risk, and their payroll in the process, then we could get a chance to realistically discuss whether they can contend in 2022, and when they might be actual contenders in years to follow.
Time will tell.