Friday, November 17, 2017

13 free agents the Pirates should check in on this off season

Taking another break from the position primers, Lets take a look at some of the top available free agents this year that they Pirates should at least check in on.    This is not a comprehensive list, I just pulled names from one of the many "top 50 free agents" lists that are out there.  By no means should the Pirates sign a majority of these players but one or two could make a large difference.

First the list.  Ordered by position, not quality and assuming they are healthy.

  • SP R.A. Dickey
  • SP Alex Cobb
  • SP CC Sabathia
  • RP Anthony Swarzak
  • RP Brandon Morrow
  • RP Addison Reed
  • RP Mike Minor
  • RP Greg Holland
  • SP/OF Shohei Otani
  • UT  Eduardo Nunez
  • 3B Mark Reynolds
  • 2B Neil Walker
  • C Jonathan Lucroy

R.A. Dickey - Starting Pitcher Righty - At the tail end of his career, may even retire this off season.  If he doesn't He could be that veteran presence the rotation needs.  Even at 42 years old he gave the Braves 190 innings last season.  He doesn't look like a top end guy any more but should give you a fair amount of innings but will put your catcher to work.  Luckily we do have some decent catchers (as long as their healthy).  If he doesn't retire, offer him a one year $6M deal with a team option for second season for the same pay with a 500k by out.

Alex Cobb - Starting Pitcher Righty - Here is an excellent pitcher how has trouble staying on a field.  He is a fair risk but also pretty high upside.  The pirates have the pitching depth to cover for him should he get injured.  Before missing 2015 had cy young award potential.  I doubt he would take anything less than four years but if you can get him on a three year $36M deal with an option.  Or even a one year $13M deal with an option to rebuild value.. then hard to pass up.

CC Sabathia - Starting Pitcher Lefty - He should resign with the Yankees or retire, but he is still pitching well and just might be willing to go else where.  If he does the pirates should grab him up on a multi year deal.  The main reason for him over anyone else that is a starter is because... well hes good and that he is a lefty.  Two years $30M or three years $40M would be my ceiling for CC.

Anthony Swarzak - Relief Pitcher Righty - Quality middle relief that appears like they can easily setup for Rivero. three year $15M seems like a good point with him.

Brandon Morrow - Relief Pitcher Righty - pretty good pitcher that has done fairly well since moving to the pen, but also hasn't logged a tone of innings since 2013.  I'd start off with a two year $10M offer.

Addison Reed - Relief Pitcher Righty - Good pitcher but probably looking to go some where that he'll have an opportunity to close, Unless Rivero gets injured or falls apart that won't be here.  Barley worth mentioning but he'll be looking for closer role at $10M a year which really isn't realistic for the pirates.

Mike Minor - Relief Pitcher Lefty - Had a great comeback year in 2017 out of the pen  I can see him looking for a four year deal up to $32M range but I'd go as high as three year $21M with an option year

Greg Holland - Relief Pitcher Righty - Greg had a very nice comeback year.  His ERA is a bit inflated probably do to the increase in home runs around the league in 2017.  He is a closer and may not have the opportunity to close in Pittsburgh and probably played his way out of the pirates price range.  However the team should ping him to see if there is an ack just to make sure.

Shohei Otani - Pitcher/Outfilder - Probably the most interesting of all the available options.  Probably most utilized as a pitcher, but Otani says he wants to continue playing both ways.  The 'experts' seem to think that he is shoe horned into the AL because of this.  I disagree, I feel it would be wonderful for the NL as well.  If the team is trading Cutch or another outfielder he can start 4/5 days in the outfield and hit.  On the fifth day he pitches and you use a fourth OF in his place.  When he is done pitching that game move him to the outfield and put in your reliever.  Or one of the many other options, maybe too many options.  Team needs to make a push to get him, they will probably fail but they better try.  Teams are limited by their bonus money on him, the pirates do have quite a bit left but not as much as a few others.  If it comes down to money, they won't get him.

Eduardo Nunez - INF/Utility - Of all the available position players he makes the most sense.  He can play third if Kang doesn't come back.  He can play short if Kang does come back.  He can be super utility if Kang returns and one of the prospects step up.  He isn't' the best defender at any position but his bat isn't bad.  three year $24M seems about right.

Mark Reynolds - Third/Fist base - Power guy with good OBP, not a good fielding third basemen.  He doesn't make as much sense as Nunez but if you know Kang isn't coming back he can be the power you are looking for.  Really not much to say here.. his fielding is bad.  probably too bad to make him a viable option BUT at the right price his bat might be worth it.

Neil Walker - Second base - maybe an average fielder who is fairly decent at the plate.  Since he would replacing Freese it isn't a huge upgrade but it still is one.  Walker would have to take a slight discount but if he did it would be a fair signing and also pretty popular in the Burgh.

Jonathan Lucroy - Catcher - One of the better defensive catchers in the league and snapped out of his slump on returning to the NL.  I'd easily give him three year $36M, Trade Cervelli for what ever you can get to dump his salary and you got a nice line up upgrade while probably increasing your defensive value as well for only a little more than what you are paying now.  It would never happen but nice to think about.

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