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Perrotto: Five Free Agent Outfielders Who Might Bolster Pirates

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The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t made any blockbuster free agent signings this winter – and probably never will under Bob Nutting’s stewardship — but general manager Ben Cherington has at least upgraded the talent level on the roster.

Catcher Austin Hedges and designated hitter Carlos Santana have been added as free agents along with right-handed starter Vince Velazquez and left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia. The Pirates have traded for first baseman Ji-Man Choi and outfielder/first baseman Connor Joe.

Cherington has said he would like to add another starting pitcher and there are some left in free agency who could help the Pirates.

However, the Pirates might be wise to add one more corner outfielder. Currently, some combination of left-handed hitters Jack Suwinski and Cal Mitchell and right-handed hitters Miguel Andujar and Joe would most likely make up a combination in left field and right field next season.

There are some outfielders remaining on the free-agent market whose prices could be dropping now that we’re past the holidays. These five might be able to help the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Robbie Grossman – It would certainly make a good story for Grossman to return to the Pirates. They traded him to the Houston Astros in 2012 when he was still in the minor leagues as part of a package for left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. The switch-hitting Grossman, 33, has spent 10 seasons in the major leagues with five different teams. He struggled to hit a combined .209/.310/.311 with seven home runs in 129 games with the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves last season. However, he had 23 homers and 20 stolen bases for the Tigers in 2021.

David Peralta – The 35-year-old left-handed hitter is coming off a solid season in which he had a .251/.316/.415 slash line with 12 homers in 134 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays. He led the National League with eight triples for the Diamondbacks in 2021 and is considered a steady clubhouse presence.

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Albert Almora Jr. – While he never became the star the Chicago Cubs once hoped he would, Almora has his uses. He batted .223/.282/.349 with five homers in 64 games with the Cincinnati Reds this year. However, the 28-year-old right-handed hitter has the speed and athleticism to excel playing PNC Park’s spacious left field.

Ben Gamel – A waiver claim in 2021, Gamel was solid for the Pirates the last two seasons and a reunion wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. The 30-year-old left-handed batter hit .242/.337/.383 with 17 homers in 226 games during his time in Pittsburgh.

Corey Dickerson – Another ex-Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder – he played for them in 2018 and 2019 – Dickerson had an OK 2022 with the St. Louis Cardinals in helping them win the National League Central. He finished with a .267/.300/.399 slash line and six home runs in 96 games. Dickerson still might be able to offer some offensive punch as the left-handed hitting side of a platoon.

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