The Pittsburgh Pirates made their first notable acquisition of the offseason when they acquired left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales from the Atlanta Braves at the Winter Meetings.
Outside of that addition, it’s been a quiet winter from the Pirates, but they still have plenty left to do.
For the most part, the free agent market has yet to materialize. The understanding is that once some of the top free agents — such as Shohei Ohtani — come off the board, it will spark some activity. Of course, the Pirates will explore the free agent market and look to execute more trades to fill their needs.
Where does general manager Ben Cherington go from here?
More Starters Needed
While Gonzales’ acquisition helped in starting the rotation overhaul, the Pirates will need to add at least one more starter, if not more.
Our own John Perrotto reported that the Pirates are said to have interest in a number of mid-tier free agents such as Lucas Giolito, Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha and others. It’s entirely possible that the Pirates look to address their rotation further through free agency.
Of course, the Pirates could strike on the trade market, as they did with Gonzales. Whatever direction they go, the rotation is still in need of additional upgrades.
While starting pitching is the biggest need for the Pirates this winter, first base isn’t too far behind.
As it currently stands, Connor Joe would be the everyday first baseman if the season started today. While Joe is a serviceable player, the Pirates are understandably active in looking for first base help.
Some of the notable first baseman still available this winter include Rhys Hoskins, Brandon Belt, Carlos Santana, Joey Votto and Rowdy Tellez, amongst others.
According to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com, the Pirates are interested in Cleveland Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor.
At the Winter Meetings, Cherington said that the Pirates are looking to add to their current mix of outfielders.
Preferably, they will look for a strong defender capable of manning center field. The Pirates don’t have a clear-cut center fielder on their current roster. Jack Suwinski spent the bulk of his time there last season, but he’s better suited for a corner spot.
We explored some possibilities last week.
Each of the last two years, the Pirates handed out long-term contracts to key members of their core. In 2022, Ke’Bryan Hayes signed an eight-year extension and Bryan Reynolds was extended this past year.
The most obvious candidate to be extended is top starter Mitch Keller. The two sides have already discussed a long-term deal. Keller is under contract through the 2025 season and will become a free agent after that.
Another possible extension candidate is two-time All-Star and Pittsburgh-native David Bednar. Bednar is under control through 2026.