The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off a 76-86 2023 campaign, which marked a 14-game improvement from the 2022 season. It’s clear the Pirates are in a youth movement, but they are in need of some veteran presences to pull it all together.
With free agency in full swing after a crazy Monday, the Pirates are going to have some decisions to make. Obviously, players like Andrew McCutchen are destined to return for the 2024 season, but who else will the Pirates target?
Vince Velasquez is another possibility, but let’s look outside the organization, or at least players who weren’t a part of the Pirates during the ’23 season.
1. Rhys Hoskins
Hoskins and the Pirates make a ton of sense. Our very own Griffin Floyd pointed out Hoskins as an option as well in his opinion column on Monday.
It was reported that the Phillies didn’t offer Hoskins a qualifying offer.
Coming off a season-ending injury before the start of the ’23 season, Hoskins will surely come at a reduced price. Other than the reduced price angle, Hoskins is a first baseman, and the Pirates desperately need a mainstay over there.
Too many times, we’ve seen players like Josh VanMeter, Michael Chavis, and others play out of position over there and just look awkward at best.
With 148 career homers in six years with the Phillies, Hoskins also provides much-needed pop into the Pirates lineup. Outside of Oneil Cruz and Bryan Reynolds, there is little to none on the Pirates’ current roster.
On top of all of this, Hoskins will most likely fill the role of a “show me” deal, which the Pirates are all too familiar with.
2. Luis Severino
This may seem a little out there, but Severino fits into the Pirates’ perfect plan of a “reclamation” project. It’s clear Severino struggled in ’23 with an ERA of 6.65, a WAR of -1.5, and a FIP of 6.14.
In ’23, Severino made around $15 million, which may seem a tad pricey for the Pirates’ taste, but it makes a ton of sense to sign him at that price for a year’s worth of work or even slightly less.
If you’re feeling frisky, you could even sign Severino to a Francisco Liriano-type deal in the three-year $39 million region. We’ve seen how Keller fixed things, so why not Severino?
3. Jason Heyward
Someone who always seemed to curse the Pirates may be an extremely good fit for them. Let’s be honest: the outfield defense in ’23 was mediocre at best.
Henry Davis looked lost, Ji-Hwan Bae took bad routes, and Suwinski played out of position. The five-time gold glover could add some defensive prowess to the Pirates that they need.
In all honesty, Heyward had a bit of a bounce-back season in ’23 with a slash line of .269/.340/.473. In addition, he smacked 15 homers and drove in 40 runs.
I don’t know how believable it is when the Pirates mentioned Davis will see more catcher time, but in case they are telling the truth, Heyward would make a nice addition and add a veteran presence.