Pirates Offseason Update – January 8

First Pirates Offseason Update since the holidays, but as expected there is not much to report on.

With yesterday’s hiring of Assistant Hitting Coach Mike Rabelo, Derek Shelton’s coaching staff has been finalized.

Overall I am glad with the changes made to this staff but also who was chosen to stay, especially Eckstein and Comadena.

So we have a coaching staff. What about the people playing on the field?

Other than the underwhelming Luke Maile signing and a handful of minor league acquisitions, the Pirates have not made a significant roster move.

The tweet below tells you all you need to know about the Pirates intentions for the upcoming season.

The Pirates will be tanking this upcoming season which I am fine with.

But there is a better way to do it in my opinion.

If the objective for Cherington and company is to restock and retool the farm system, why don’t you use payroll to sign some players who could improve the team in the short team while also potentially serving as a trade piece at the deadline for prospects.

A perfect example for this was free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos. He was signed by the Rangers yesterday to a one-year, $6.75 million deal. The Pirates could have signed a guy like Chirinos to immediately improve a glaring hole in their roster. And depending on his performance and the available offers, he could be moved at the deadline to a team desperate for a catcher in their postseason run. In return, the Pirates would get their heavily coveted prospects.

This tactic is even more true for pitchers. They make good fliers for teams and if they perform well, that team can expect heavy returns at the deadline.

Two names I want the Pirates to target for this are lefties Drew Smyly and Alex Wood.

The Pirates have plenty of space on the payroll. An embarrassing amount. Using some of that money to sign guys with upside (either in the form of their performance for the Pirates or the potential prospect return) does more for this team in the short and long term than signing players like Luke Maile.

As we continue to keep our eyes on Starling Marte trade rumors, I am intrigued to see how the final weeks of the offseason shake out.

Hopefully Ben Cherington will give me more to write about this time next week…

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