Believe It or Not The Pirates Might Sign a Free Agent or Two

We’ve focused on the biggest moves and those happen to be trades. I don’t see those being done yet as I can’t see a logical way they head into Spring with Adam Frazier as part of the mix.

Now, when I talk about free agent possibilities it doesn’t seem to jive with the full rebuild does it? Well, hear me out a bit and judge for yourself.

First, they have very real holes and the most significant is in the outfield. Part of the rebuild process is about not forcing players into the line of fire before they’re ready and on top of that, outside Anthony Alford, who is still not a sure thing they’ve really only got Jared Oliva with an outside shot Travis Swaggerty as a September call up player, and I’ll be honest, even that is a bit of a stretch.

Second, the team showed us last season they understood another one of those sneaky ways to acquire talent by signing Jarrod Dyson and flipping him for international pool space at the deadline.

I can already hear you thinking this is just the wishful thinking of some blogger boy, and hey, you might end up being right, but check out Dejan Kovacevic’s Daily shot today. And just in case you don’t, he asked Ben Cherington if he’d consider signing some established free agents by way of flipping them, to which he essentially said yes, it’s on the table.

He also said players are smart and there’s no reason to hide it from them as they know what’s going on anyway.

In most years I’d tell you that adds up to exactly what they picked up last year in the form of Dyson. This year though, the market is just not moving and reality is, the Pirates might not have to be the most attractive landing spot, in fact they might even be spoiled for choice, now, do they choose to make one?

Let’s have a look at some players who could fit the mold, and keep in mind, this isn’t about pretending they’ll compete, this is about buying an asset to potentially insulate the system and ultimately continue to bolster it.

Ben Gamel

Most Pirate fans will remember this shaggy haired dude always cropping up at a bad time to help the Brewers beat our Buccos.

He’s 29 years old, listed as a Right Fielder but he can play Center if he has to. Nothing flashy, in fact if you look at his stats you’d swear he got most of his numbers playing the Pirates, but he is a 0.7 WAR player.

Again, nothing to get excited about but a perfect candidate to still be there for the Pirates, remain affordable (more important for flipping than the Pirates payroll) and if nothing else provides an option who can play all over the outfield, and well.

I believe he can be had for 2.5 Million or less, but I might be inclined to go as high as 3.

Delino DeShields

The speedy outfielder is 28 years old and played most of his career with the Rangers before a short stint in Cleveland for 2020 which to be kind didn’t go well.

His batting average is not good, not just last year, but career clocking in at .246 but his OBP of .326 is more than passable. The Pirates have no real leadoff hitter and he might fill that role well combining his OBP with his 106 career stolen bases.

He’s never played more than 121 games in a single season but he is a 5.6 career WAR player.

There aren’t a lot of positions he can’t play, the very definition of a super utility, his versatility could help the Pirates and their ability to move him.

I see him requiring 3 million max.

Jake Marisnick

He’ll be 30 before the season starts and for his career is a 0.2 WAR player. He’s a glove, nothing really impressive about his hitting and he’s never played more than 133 games in a single season. He has some pop displayed from 2017-2019 hitting 16, 10 and 10 over the fence while never getting more than 316 at bats, so a bit more plate appearances could produce a bit more.

Listed as a center fielder, he can more than handle any position they play him in, but his .995 fielding percentage and 8.6 defensive WAR make him valuable in the middle of the field.

Now, he made a little over 3.3 million last season and I can’t see paying more than 2 or 2.5.

Julio Teheran

Don’t get enamored by the name this isn’t the same pitcher you remember as the future ace in Atlanta, in fact he’s only a career -1.0 WAR pitcher but he could compete for the fifth spot in the rotation much like Derek Holland did last year.

He’s probably good for a high 4’s ERA but he still has good strikeout numbers which could help him slot in as a swing man in the pen or the back end of a piggyback starting scenario. With Jameson Taillon slotted as a starter the chances are they will need to at least early on back him up and that’s if you believe he’ll make it through the season unscathed.

He signed a 9 million dollar one year deal with the pitching hungry Angels last season and let’s just say, he earned himself a pay cut.

If the Pirates could get him for 5 million it might be a worthy risk, hey, pitching costs money, that’s why they need to develop it.

Now, I’m not going to cover everyone they could look at of course, but these are the types of players that should be out there, and these are the types of signings that could turn into really nice flips.

Again, that’s the goal. If they help now a bit, great, but more importantly they show enough to make themselves attractive for someone else. Jarrod Dyson scarcely played and brought back enough pool space to acquire Po-Yu Chen.

It’s all about finding ways to continue to flood the system with talent, and sometimes much like paying 2.3 million to a 16 year old, you need to pay 2 or 3 million to a veteran to reach the same end.

Either way, I fully expect the club to bring in a bit more, even as they actively send players packing.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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