In case you hadn’t heard, the collective bargaining agreement ends on Dec. 1 at 11:59 p.m. and it seems the sport is heading for a work stoppage. People around the game, both executives and writers, are expecting a frenzy in terms of roster moves over the next couple days.
There is expected to be a frenzy of moves today. In words of 1 executive today will be “bananas.” Becuase physicals and contract language needs to be finalized b4 potential lockout midnight Wed into Thurs, today is seen as close to a deadline to finalize deals.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 29, 2021
The Pirates will surely be in on the madness to ensue as the clock continues to tick as we near closer to the CBA’s expiration day. The plan was for this to be a Winter Meetings preview, but with those likely getting canceled this year unless an agreement is reached, this will be a little bit different. Here are some things to keep an eye out for regarding the Pirates in what should be a hectic couple of days.
Quintana/Tsutsugo Deals Get Finalized
The Pirates have reportedly agreed to deals with a pair of free agents – left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana and the re-signing of Yoshi Tsutsugo, though no official announcement has been made yet on either front. The Bucs have a full 40-man roster meaning a pair of corresponding roster moves will have to take place in order to get both players on the roster. The Pirates will certainly make both moves official before the CBA expires, though they may hold out a little longer to do so. One potential route is to non-tender a pair of players who would have been removed from the roster anyway. Speaking of non-tenders…
Last week, Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed to move the tender/non-tender deadline to Nov. 30 at 8:00 p.m. Typically, arbitration-eligible players due for salary increases are the ones who get non-tendered. Among the Pirates’ eight arbitration-eligible players, four are seen as non-tender candidates. Colin Moran, Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault and Kevin Newman are all in jeopardy of being non-tendered by the Pirates and becoming free agents.
As mentioned earlier, if the Pirates decide to non-tender at least two of the listed players, that opens up spots on the roster for both Quintana and Tsutsugo.
On the flip side, keep an eye out for who gets non-tendered by the other 29 teams across the league. The Pirates could have interest in some of those players and one of the ideas behind moving up the deadline was to give a little bit of extra time for the players who end up on the market to find a new home quickly.
Trade/Free Agent Buzz
On the trade front, general manager Ben Cherignton will be working the phones trying to acquire anything he can for the players that the front office plans on non-tendering. He will also be fielding calls on some other players that other teams are surely interested in, such as Bryan Reynolds and Jacob Stallings.
The Pirates could also look to acquire Major League players in trades to help fill out the big league roster. Purely speculation here, but with the busy offseason the Mets have had to date, players such as Dom Smith, JD Davis and Jeff McNeil could be available in trades and could pique the Pirates’ interest.
Free agent wise, the Pirates still have holes to fill. The team still needs to find a backup catcher, a relief pitcher and could look to add another starting pitcher and outfielder. Don’t expect any big deals, but more marginal upgrades in multiple places could be on the horizon.
Though there hasn’t been anything concrete in terms of extension talks between the Pirates and some of their players, the conversations have surely been taking place. Around the game this offseason, a number of extensions have been agreed to and more could come before the clock strikes midnight on Thursday.
Bryan Reynolds, Ke’Bryan Hayes and even Oneil Cruz are among the potential players who could receive extensions from the Pirates.