Yesterday I reviewed some of the top free agent options on the starting pitching market. That’s an area where the Pirates could see the biggest impact by adding to the team this offseason.
The Pirates did finish the 2021 season with one of the worst offenses in the league, so it’s not like their potential for improvement is limited to pitching.
Rather than breaking down all of the free agents for each position, I thought I would link the MLBTR free agency list, while breaking down each position on the roster with how I think the Pirates should proceed.
Catcher – The Pirates are good here with Jacob Stallings. They could use a backup, and that would probably come from a minor league deal or a low-key free agent signing.
First Base – Colin Moran was one of the worst first basemen in the game this past year. I have to think it wouldn’t be difficult to upgrade over him, and for a lower cost than what he would make in arbitration.
Second Base – The Pirates have a lot of internal options here, with Rodolfo Castillo, Hoy Park, Cole Tucker, Kevin Newman, Michael Chavis, Tucapita Marcano, and others as candidates for the position. They’d be better off sorting through that group to find a starter.
Shortstop – I could see Oneil Cruz taking the position by the end of the year. The Pirates can sort through their middle infield group at this position before then, giving Newman a chance to hit, Tucker a chance at shortstop, and seeing what Marcano could do if all else fails before Cruz arrives. An extreme move would be Cruz on Opening Day, and I’d be here for it, especially if MLB free agency rules change.
Third Base – Ke’Bryan Hayes has this locked down, and this will be a big season to see if he can take the next step in his development into an impact starter.
Outfield – I’ll group this together, because I think the Pirates could upgrade over Bryan Reynolds defensive in center field. I like what Ben Gamel has done, and would go with a starting trio that includes him and Reynolds. That would allow the Pirates to search for outfield help from the outside at any three of the positions. This is the area where my main focus to upgrade externally would be.
Designated Hitter – Yoshi Tsutsugo, if the DH comes to the NL.