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Demilio: Three Free Agents Pirates Should Try To Sign

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Pittsburgh Pirates

The 2022-23 Major League Baseball offseason has officially begun as the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series.

As part of the offseason, free agency opens on Thursday as all free agents are able to negotiate with any of the 30 teams across the league.

The free agent market this season features some big names. Among them are likely American League MVP Aaron Judge, ace right-hander Jacob deGrom and 2022 World Series Champion Justin Verlander.

News flash — the Pittsburgh Pirates won’t be in the mix for any of these names, or any names at the top of the market for that matter.

Even so, there are plenty of free agents the Pirates will have interest in as they look to address holes on their roster in an attempt to avoid their third-straight 100-loss season.

Under the direction of general manager Ben Cherington, the Pirates have not yet given out a guaranteed multi-year pact to any free agent addition.

Daniel Vogelbach signed for one-year plus a team option last offseason and was traded to the New York Mets midseason.

This year, that may change. No, there is seemingly no real expectation that the Pirates will hand out a significant multi-year deal to a free agent, but a modest two-year deal for example could be on the table.

Even if the offseason consists of more one-year deals for the Pirates, there are plenty of names that make sense for Pittsburgh to target.

One of those players is former top prospect Wil Myers, who can fill the Pirates’ hole at first base while also being an option in the outfield.

This past season with the San Diego Padres, Myers played 52 games in the outfield and 25 at first base. Myers, who turns 32 next month, fared well defensively at first and in the outfield.

With the bat, Myers hit .261 with a 104 wRC+ with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 77 games for the Friars. Knee and thumb injuries caused the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year to miss some time.

The Pirates are a bit heavy on left-handed hitters, so Myers would offer some balance in their lineup. For his career, he has an .804 OPS against southpaws.

The San Diego Padres are declining Myers’ $20M team option according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, making him a free agent.

Another area that the Pirates will seek to address on the position player side of things is behind the plate.

While Roberto Perez has expressed a desire to remain with the Pirates, he turns 34 next month and has been injury prone in his career.

A potentially more viable catcher that the Pirates could look to sign is Omar Narvaez who spent the last three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 30-year-old Narvaez is coming off a down season at the plate in which he hit only .206 with a .597 OPS in 84 games.

With that being said, Narvaez was a 2021 All-Star, a year in which he posted a .743 OPS and 11 home runs for the Brewers.

Defensively, Narvaez has transformed himself from a liability behind the plate to a solid all-around backstop. Narvaez was one of the better pitch framers in baseball this year.

With two young catching options in Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis knocking on the door to Pittsburgh, a one-year free agent deal makes sense for both sides as Narvaez looks to rebuild his value.

On the pitching side of things, the Pirates need help both in the starting rotation and in the bullpen, but the rotation is the focus here.

The Pirates should look to a player who has given them fits in the past in veteran left-hander Wade Miley.

Miley turns 36 in a few days but has been successful in the back-half of his career. Miley battled injuries for the Chicago Cubs last season, but was effective when healthy. He went 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA in nine games in 2022.

Since the start of 2018, Miley has posted a 3.50 ERA/4.12 FIP in 92 games with four teams.

Each of the previous two offseason, the Pirates have handed out a one-year free gent deal to a veteran left-handed starter — Tyler Anderson two years ago and Jose Quintana last offseason. Both moves proved to be solid deals for the Bucs.

On Monday, Pittsburgh Baseball Now’s John Perrotto also named three targets for the Pirates. His choices can be found here.

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