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Pirates Analysis

Potential Free Agent Fits for the Pirates

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Baseball is back, the transaction freeze will be over once the CBA is ratified and the Pirates still have some work left to do in filling out their roster. The team was busy before the lockout, and should be active again leading up to spring training and into Opening Day.

Some needs the Pirates should/could look to address include starting pitching, bullpen, power bats and a catcher. There are still plenty of names remaining on the free agent market the Pirates can look towards to fill those voids. So while I’m sure many Pirates fans want to see them go after Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa… let’s be realistic. Here are some targets that could make sense.

Andrew McCutchen, OF/DH

2021 team: Philadelphia Phillies

2021 stats: .222/.334/.444 (109 OPS+), 24 doubles, 27 home runs, 80 RBIs, 144 games

Let’s start here first. Do I think this will happen? No. But it at least makes some sense for the Pirates. Not only would the Bucs be bringing back the face of their franchise from last decade, but McCutchen still has power, still gets on base, and still mashes lefties.

Jorge Soler, OF/DH

2021 team: Kansas City Royals/Atlanta Braves

2021 stats: .223/.316/.432 (97 OPS+), 27 doubles, 27 home runs, 70 RBIs, 149 games

Soler struggled with the Royals but really turned it on after a midseason trade to the Braves and helped them win the World Series. The Pirates could use his power in the middle of their lineup.

Michael Pineda, RHP

2021 team: Minnesota Twins

2021 stats: 9-8, 3.62 ERA/4.21 FIP, 109.1 innings, 88 strikeouts, 21 walks, 22 games (21 starts)

Pineda might prove too rich for the Pirates’ liking, but he would be an immediate upgrade to the rotation.

Brad Boxberger, RHP

2021 team: Milwaukee Brewers

2021 stats: 5-4, 3.34 ERA/3.65 FIP, 64.2 innings, 25 walks, 83 strikeouts, four saves, 71 appearances

The 33-year-old had an impressive showing a year ago and would look good in the back of the Pirates’ bullpen with David Bednar and Chris Stratton.

Brad Miller, INF

2021 team: Philadelphia Phillies

2021 stats: .227/.321/.453 (107 OPS), 75 hits, 20 home runs, 49 RBIs, 140 games

Miller offers some versatility and could slide into first base if the Pirates decide to use Yoshi Tsutsugo at DH. Could make for a good bench bat too.

Danny Duffy, LHP

2021 team: Kansas City Royals/Los Angeles Dodgers

2021 stats: 4-3, 2.51 ERA, 61 innings, 22 walks, 65 strikeouts, 13 games (12 starts)

Duffy was having a fantastic season before an injury sidelined him. He never appeared for the Dodgers after they acquired him just before the deadline.

Archie Bradley, RHP

2021 team: Philadelphia Phillies

2021 stats: 7-3, 3.71 ERA/4.35 FIP, 51 innings, 22 walks, 40 strikeouts, two saves, 53 appearances.

Bradley didn’t rack up a a lot of strikeouts like he has in the past, but was still effective for Philly.

Tyler Anderson, LHP

2021 team: Pittsburgh Pirates/Seattle Mariners

2021 stats: 7-11. 4.53 ERA/4.37 FIP, 167 innings, 38 walks, 134 strikeouts, 31 starts

Sound familiar? Anderson isn’t flashy, but he proved to be an effective and durable starter between his time with the Bucs and Mariners last season.

Zach Davies, RHP

2021 team: Chicago Cubs

2021 stats: 6-12, 5.78 ERA/5.45 FIP, 148 innings, 75 walks, 114 strikeouts, 31 starts

Davies uncharacteristically led the league in walks in 2021 and struggled throughout the season. He was still durable and his previous track record is more impressive.

Chance Sisco, C

2021 team: Baltimore Orioles/New York Mets

2021 stats: .149/.241/.189 (20 OPS+), 11-for-74, 28 games.

I know, the stats are ugly. But Sisco was a former top prospect and has some pop. Not a ton out there on the free agent market in terms of catchers.

Richard Rodriguez, RHP

2021 team: Pittsburgh Pirates/Atlanta Braves

2021 stats: 5-4, 2.94 ERA/4.04 FIP, 64.1 innings, 10 walks, 42 strikeouts, 14 saves, 64 games.

We started with a reunion, so we might as well end with one. Rodriguez had some issues down the stretch with the Pirates and in Atlanta, but there’s familiarity and he was one of the the Pirates’ best reliever the past couple seasons.

There are still a ton of relivers out there that could all make sense as lower-cost free agents for the Pirates.

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