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MLBTR Tabs Pirates as Landing Spot For Four Top 50 Free Agents



Pittsburgh Pirates, Jason Heyward

MLBTradeRumors unveiled their annual predictions for the top 50 MLB free agents this winter, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were picked to land four free agents.

The trio of Tim Dierks, Anthony Franco and Darragh McDonald all made selections for each free agent in the top 50 and the Pirates were listed four times.

RHP Jack Flaherty (Rank: 22)

McDonald predicts the Pirates to land the 28-year-old right-hander, who comes with a contract prediction of three-years and $40 million. That would represent the largest free agent deal in franchise history.

After a brilliant start to his career, Flaherty has battled injures and inconsistency over the last couple seasons. In 29 appearances/27 starts last season, Flaherty went 8-9 with a 4.99 ERA/4.36 FIP between his time with the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles.

The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers were also predicted as the other two landing spots.

LHP Sean Manaea (Rank: 35)

Manaea hits free agency after opting out of his deal with the San Francisco Giants, and Dierks thinks the Pirates will sign the veteran left-hander. Manaea’s contract prediction is two years and $22 million.

Last season with San Francisco, the 31-year-old finished 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA/3.90 FIP in 117.2 innings pitched across 37 appearances.

Manaea was also projected to land with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers by the other two writers.

OF Jason Heyward (Rank: 42)

The Pirates saw a lot of Heyward during his lengthy stint with the Chicago Cubs, and they could see him in Pittsburgh according to McDonald’s prediction. Heyward is projected to land a two-year deal worth $16 million.

Heyward enjoyed a resurgence last season while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 124 games, Heyward hit .269 with an .813 OPS, 23 doubles and 15 home runs.

The other two landing spots for Heyward were a re-up with the Dodgers and the Kansas City Royals.

1B Brandon Belt (Rank: 45)

The Pirates have a need at first base, and Franco thinks they fill it with Belt, who is projected to earn $15 million on a one-year contract.

Belt spent last season with the Toronto Blue Jays after a 12-year stint with the San Francisco Giants. The 35-year-old turned in a nice season at the plate with an .858 OPS and 19 home runs in 103 games.

The Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox were the other projected landing spots for Belt.

In Addition…

Pittsburgh was also mentioned as a potential fit for second baseman Amed Rosario and Whit Merrifeld, but did not land any of the three predictions for either.

The full list of predictions can be found HERE.

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