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Perrotto: Pirates Need More Than Another Starting Pitcher



The Pittsburgh Pirates’ biggest question is the same one week into the Grapefruit League season as it was throughout the winter.

Do the Pirates have enough quality starting pitching to contend in the wide-open National League?

Only time will provide that answer, but the Pirates would bolster their postseason hopes by adding one more reliable starter. They need someone to supplement Mitch Keller and left-handers Marco Gonzales and Martin Perez.

However, it would be helpful if the Pirates added something else to round out their roster. They could use one more established hitter in a lineup that has the potential to be good but has question marks.

The most logical move would be to add a right fielder. The Pirates have plenty of candidates vying for the job in spring training but could use an upgrade.

Acquiring a center fielder and moving Jack Suwinski to right field would be a good Plan B.

To the Pirates’ potential good fortune, some good outfielders remaining on the free agent market – even though it’s the first day of March – who would be an upgrade. Those players are also likely to be signed at bargain prices now that opening day is less than a month away.

Here is a look at four of them:

Michael A. Taylor

Taylor’s offensive history is spotty, but he hit a career-high 21 home runs and stole 13 bases last season for the Minnesota Twins. That helped offset a .220 batting average and .284 on-base percentage in 129 games.

The low OBP is a concern. However, the Pirates could hit him ninth in the order, which would give them speed on the bases when he does get on and the lineup turns over.

Taylor would add big value defensively, though, by playing center field. His 43 defensive runs saved over the last three seasons are the most in the major leagues at the position.

Adam Duvall

Duvall is three years removed from leading the National League with 113 RBIs with the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves. While it would be unrealistic to expect him to reach that figure again in his age-35 season, Duvall could help the Pirates.

Duvall had a fine season with the Boston Red Sox last year with a .247/.303/.531 slash line and 21 home runs despite being limited to 92 games because of injuries. If Duvall matched those statistics this season, he would be a significant addition to the Pirates’ lineup.

Tommy Pham

Pham isn’t afraid to speak his mind and rub people the wrong way, which is why he played for five teams over the previous three seasons. However, he is still a useful player at 35.

Last season, Pham batted .256/.328/.446 with 16 homers and 22 steals in 129 games combined with the New York Mets and National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks. That blend of power and speed would fit the Pirates’ need for more offense.

Eddie Rosario

Like Duvall, Rosario made his mark on the 2021 Braves as they went on to win the World Series. He was the MVP in their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

Rosario might not reach that level again but, at 32, he still has some value. He showed that again last season when he slashed .255/.305/.450 with 21 home runs for the Braves in 142 games.

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