For the Pittsburgh Pirates, this offseason is about setting up for the future.
How will the Pittsburgh Pirates handle the upcoming offseason? That’s a really great question that probably doesn’t bring about many exciting answers for Pirates fans. However, the next few months will give Pittsburgh an opportunity to make smaller moves to set them up for future success.
The Pirates ended the 2020 season with a league-worst 19-41 record, winning the race for the top pick in the 2021 draft, likely Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker. Their offense ranked 28th in team batting average (.220), 30th in on-base percentage (.284), 30th in slugging percentage (.357), and 29th in team-wRC+ (73).
Pitching didn’t fare much better, with Pirates starting pitchers ranking 28th in combined fWAR (1.2) and a missed season from Chris Archer after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery.
The Pirates now face an offseason that will be more about who on the current roster is leaving than who will be coming in. They aren’t going to find themselves in bidding wars for any of the top free agents and they certainly aren’t giving up any prospects in winter trades.
General manager Ben Cherrington may still be active in the trade market, but top trade chips like Josh Bell underperformed, Archer didn’t even throw a single pitch, and Keone Kela (now a free agent) found himself on the Injured List at the trade deadline, resulting in Pittsburgh being unable to move the reliever.
There are still a few names who may draw a worthwhile return. With an arbitration-eligible class of 19 players, the Pirates can reduce that list by dealing some of the more attractive options.
So if the Pittsburgh Pirates are still a few years away from handing out big free agent contracts, how do they improve this offseason? Here are three moves, not necessarily free agent signings or trades, they can complete this offseason to improve.