As is usually the case with any rebuilding team, the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen was a disaster last season.
There are pieces that can be part of the future. David Bednar performed admirably as the Pirates’ closer while Chase De Jong showed that he could be a solid piece in a setup role. But two relievers does not a bullpen make as the Pirates came to realize last season.
That leaves the relief corps as a place for potential bargains heading into next year. One such bargain could be Archie Bradley, a pitcher who had been a valuable setup man as recently as 2021. Injuries had ruined his 2022 campaign as he spent three months on the Injured List with a broken right elbow and a strained forearm that he suffered two days after his return. In that time, he posted a disappointing 4.82 ERA and a 1.286 WHiP over 18.2 innings, striking out 15 batters with seven walks.
This makes him a perfect buy-low candidate. Bradley is likely to earn less than the $3.5 million he received last year and may even be looking at minor league contracts. If that is the case, the Pirates offering a major league deal and a guaranteed setup role could be enough to bring him on board.
The Pittsburgh Pirates need lottery tickets in the bullpen as well. Archie Bradley’s track record makes him an intriguing option.