MLB Offseason Analysis Series: Pittsburgh Pirates

I look into MLB’s perennial mediocre team… the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their offseason will be boring with little money to spend and I don’t think they have the balls to trade any more talent away this year. After offending their fan base last year by moving Cole and Cutch, look for them to fly under the radar in 2018-2019.



For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.

We now move to the NL Central… the home of the NL MVP’s Brewers, the never-ending drama’s Cubs, the defensively challenged Cardinals, the “we’re not rebuilding, but we are” Pirates… and the Reds.

Comment below, hit us up with questions/thoughts on Twitter (@TheCombineBlog), or post your best NL Central memes on our Facebook and keep the discussion going.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Departing FAs:

Josh Harrison UTIL
Jordy Mercer SS



  • ~$15M


Biggest Needs:

  1. SS
  2. SP
  3. 3B


Top FA Targets:

  1. Jose Iglesias, SS

Pirates need a shortstop with Mercer being a free agent… but they don’t have money to spend.  Iglesias is a good defensive SS with very little to offer offensively.  Also an option: Adeiny Hechavarria or Alcides Escobar

  1. Matt Moore, SP

With Ray Searage as the pitching coach, you can take one man’s shit and turn him into your treasure.  Matt Moore is the shit in this analogy.

  1. Devin Mesoraco, C/1B

Able to C and play 1B, Mesoraco’s versatility would play well in PIT.  It could allow Bell to play RF some days to get Polanco/Marte/Dickerson some rest and provide some pop off the bench when he’s not playing.

  1. Logan Forsythe, INF

With no one necessarily having a “lock” on 2B or 3B, Forsythe could help battle for both or form a platoon at the very least.

  1. Jake Diekman, RP

The Pirates don’t really have a LHRP outside of Vazquez… Diekman is a good fit here.


Top 3 Trade Possibilities:

  1. Pirates trade SP Ivan Nova to the Angels for RP Cam Bedrosian

The Angels need pitching and the Pirates don’t need a #4/5 SP making $9.1M with their budget.  Bedrosian has 3 years of team control remaining but could be a decent set-up piece for the Bucs.

  1. Pirates trade 1B/RF Josh Bell to the Yankees for 1B Greg Bird and prospect SP Jonathan Loaisiga (#2)

The Yankees are seemingly tired of Bird and his injuries and could get a big bat that would play up in NY.  Bell hit 26 homers in 2017… not unreasonable to expect 30/year in New York.

  1. Pirates trade RP Felipe Vasquez to the Cardinals for C Carson Kelly, prospect SP Dakota Hudson (#3), and a low-A prospect

I am a firm believer in not needing a closer, unless you’re competing for a World Series.  The Pirates aren’t going to playoffs in 2019, barring a disaster in STL, MIL, and CHC… so trade your closer for the biggest return.  Although inter-division, the Cards make a lot of sense.  A blocked C in Carson Kelly would be ideal to replace Cervelli when his contract expires after the season and Dakota Hudson would be great to slide into the rotation at any point.  The Cards get a closer (or they could use him as a “fireman”) that is very reasonably priced for the next 3 seasons plus 2 more via club options.


Bold Prediction:

  • Pirates trade SP Chris Archer & OF Gregory Polanco to the Twins for prospect OF Alex Kiriloff (#2), SP Stephen Gonslaves (#5), SS Wander Javier (#8), and SP Kohl Stewart (#28)

The Pirates could decide to just blow it up with the teams ahead of them in the NL Central not going anywhere for a couple years at least.  This would be reversing on the Archer trade just 6 months ago and stacking their farm system with talent and arms that can develop better outside of the Twins organization… where arms go to die.  The Twins would get a good, not great, pitcher to lead their staff for the next 3 years and a RF with tremendous upside for 5 years.  Both would come with very reasonable contracts and give the Twins some cost certainty moving forward.


Other MLB Offseason Predictions

Author: @TheCombineJosh

The Combine is where sports and and the fans can unite and discuss their favorite topics. Stay tuned as we grow!

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