Given the current state of the Pittsburgh Pirates, it wasn’t expected to be a newsworthy 2022-23 offseason. However, a trade request and the return of a franchise legend made this winter for a little bit more interesting for a Pirates team that’s not expected to compete come 2023. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at the notable moves made by the Pirates this winter..
- 1B Ji-Man Choi
- LHP Jarlín García
- LHP Rich Hill
- OF Connor Joe
- OF Andrew McCutchen
- 1B/DH Carlos Santana
- RHP Vince Velasquez
In a rebuild, the Pirates’ list of moves made this offseason are not particularly surprising. Pittsburgh inked a number of veterans for both the Pirates rotation &amp; lineup this upcoming season. Infielders Carlos Santana and Ji-Man Choi should provide some decent pop and get on base for a team that ranked among the bottom five in both OBP (.291) and SLG (.364) last season. Pittsburgh also acquired outfielder Connor Joe — originally a first-round pick by the Pirates in 2014 — via trade from the Rockies.
Pitching-wise, the Pirates signed former Giants reliever Jarlín García. The left-hander pitched quite well for both Miami and San Francisco over the past four seasons, and should be one of Pittsburgh’s set-up men for David Bednar. Pittsburgh also inked starters Vincent Velasquez and Rich Hill for the Pirates rotation.
Most notably, Pittsburgh signed franchise icon outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a one-year deal. McCutchen was one of the league’s best outfielders in baseball from 2009-2017, as he hit 203 home runs for the Pirates and was a key piece for a team that secured three consecutive playoff births from 2013-15.
The Pirates didn’t lose to much off its roster. Veterans Ben Gamel and Roberto Perez exited via free agency, and dealt Diego Castillo, Zach Thompson, and Bryse Wilson. Thompson struggled after a solid rookie season with Miami, while Wilson posted an ERA north of 5.00 for the second straight season.
The most notable news, though, from this season regarding the Pirates surrounded star outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds — who mashed 51 home runs over the last two seasons — reportedly requested a trade out of Pittsburgh earlier this winter. It’s an interesting situation for the Pirates, a team that is in the midst of a rebuild but has the 27-year-old under team control for three more seasons. Conceivably, the Pirates and the team’s solid farm system could turn the tide by the time Reynolds hits the market. Or, Pittsburgh could deal Reynolds to grab more assets.
The Pirates offseason can be looked upon as one that was rather safe. As of this writing, the Pirates still have control of Reynolds. Pittsburgh could elect to wait on any deal, or make a move now if a lucrative trade surfaces. The Pirates are heavy in terms of position player prospects, thanks to the likes Henry Davis, Termarr Johnson, and Nick Gonzales, and that depth is a probable reason that Pittsburgh has reportedly been interested in pitchers. Still, the Pirates can’t be overly aggressive; with three years left of team control, Pittsburgh must choose its next move carefully.
Aside from that news, Pittsburgh picked a number of veterans that should provide leadership, and fill holes whole the Pirates wait for the prospects to develop. Veterans like Hill and Santana — should both perform well in 2023 — could very well be trade chips come the summer.