Pirates’ Roster Has One Flaw Above All Others
The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the offseason with some obvious holes on their roster. First base has been addressed with the acquisition of Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Pirates no doubt will need to add at least one catcher, whether it’s bringing back Roberto Perez or someone else.
A veteran starting pitcher, a-la Jose Quintana last offseason, will need to be brought in and the Bucs will still need to add to the bullpen.
One need that maybe wasn’t as apparent when the regular season came to a close became evident when the Pirates designated left-handed pitcher Manny Bañuelos for assignment on Tuesday.
The Pirates currently have zero left-handed pitchers on their 40-man roster.
That’s right — of the 20 pitchers currently on the Bucs’ 40-man roster, none of them throw with their left hand.
Last season, nine left-handers made at least one appearance for the Pirates. Quintana threw 103 innings before he was traded to St. Louis at the deadline and Bañuelos did finish the year in Pittsburgh but is now in DFA limbo.
Six others — Dillon Peters, Anthony Banda, Eric Stout, Aaron Fletcher, Cam Vieaux, Sam Howard were either DFA’d during the season or have since elected free agency and are not currently with the Pirates.
Cam Alldred, who made just one appearance for the Pirates last season, is the only left-hander who appeared in a game for the Bucs who is still with the organization.
The Pirates will surely be active in adding a southpaw or two to their roster as the offseason marches on.
The good news for the Pirates? They have some options.
There are several left-handed starters on the free agent market who could be on Ben Cherington’s radar.
Adding a lefty to the rotation would follow what Cherington has done each of the last two offseasons in signing Tyler Anderson and Quintana.
Quintana may have priced himself out of a potential return to Pittsburgh, but pitchers such as Sean Manaea, Ryan Yarbrough, Drew Smyly, Wade Miley and Matthew Boyd could all be options for the Bucs to add.
Perhaps even more so than the rotation, the Pirates could look to add a left-hander to their current mix of bullpen arms.
The notable lefty relievers on the free agent market include Andrew Chafin, Aroldis Chapman, Brad Hand, Joely Rodriguez, Will Smith and Matt Strahm. Taylor Rogers is the marquee name available but could prove too rich for the Pirates’ taste.
Between the current mix of free agents and the trade market, look for Pittsburgh to be aggressive in their hunt for left-handed pitching in the coming weeks and months.