10-13-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
Ya know, when your team loses 100 games, it’s not often you can look back and actually want to return most of the roster, let alone return some guys who didn’t last the year, but today, I’ll be making that case.
Ton of youth on this team, and not all these kids are going to rise up and become permanent fixtures. That said, there are more than enough this team simply has to play more if only to eliminate them from consideration or to solidify their belief in their ability to help and ultimately become part of the core.
A couple things I normally wouldn’t endorse are potentially on the horizon too. Specifically two returning veterans.
You know what they say, where there’s smoke there’s fire, well, a ton of smoke leading me to believe the Pirates will re-sign Roberto Perez and Jose Quintana, or at least they intend to.
As most of you probably assume, I have sources that I talk to, but I never pretend this is a full time gig for me. I tend to use my sources more to confirm a suspicion or inform my predictions than to break news. That’s not my role, that’s the place of paid and credentialed journalists. Well, then today I heard Dejan Kovacevic on his daily shot of Pirates today echo exactly what I’ve been hearing and on top of that, reference his own conversation with Jose Quintana in which he stated that the interest is reciprocated.
The funny thing is, had Perez been healthy all season, and Quintana never been traded, I’m not really sure how many more games I could give them. Yet somehow I see both of them as a really nice fit for the needs of this 2023 club.
They have to have a veteran catcher, and Roberto Perez is a really good one. Health has been his issue and to be fair to him it’s not chronic injuries as much as constant injuries. Meaning it’s something different just about every time.
That certainly doesn’t paint a rosy picture of a guy who’s destined to man the backstop position for 140 games, but specifically for 2023, I don’t think the Pirates need that. I think they need a veteran who has forgotten more about handling a pitching staff than someone like Endy Rodriguez has yet to learn, because when he is called up, and unless he is catastrophically injured himself he will be, I’d love Perez to be on the bench giving him pointers, helping him game plan, working through progressions.
Rookies have enough to work on when they get called up to the Bigs, being the sole source of what the catching room brings to the table shouldn’t be one of them. Let him come up here when he’s ready, hit, catch, learn, and grow under the tutelage of someone most of the staff already trusts emphatically.
It doesn’t have to be Perez, but when I look at the alternatives out there I’m not sure I see anyone with his skill set who will gently slide into the background when the time comes. The fit is just seamless.
He wants to be back, the Pirates want him back, I even think he’ll be cheaper than he was last year. Try as I might, I can’t find a single reason why this won’t be the direction.
Now onto Quintana.
Q had a complete bounce back season. He, not an assumption by me or anyone else, but he himself has vocally credited Oscar Marin with helping him. He’s also according to DK said he’d like to return.
The Pirates according to my sources, and apparently DK’s are equally interested in having Quintana back as well.
That’s all fine and dandy, but bringing Quintana back won’t be as easy as an injury prone catcher. This is a lefty who has performed for a full season, even in a playoff race. At 34 he’s not going to get offered 5 or 6 years, but he’s certainly not going to accept a one year deal from a team like Pittsburgh. I’d imagine a contender could sway him to consider that but if Pittsburgh is to pull this off it’s my belief they’ll have to offer 2 years.
That certainly doesn’t mean he’d be here for 2 full years, but it does mean he’s not at a stage of his career to just be ok with having a team damn near guarantee he’s leaving at the deadline again.
I am typically very much so a guy who doesn’t believe you can go home again in sports, it just doesn’t work out nearly as often as you’d like, but on this young team, I feel adding some strategic veterans like this could really help bring along the youngsters and not block a single one in the process.
Now those two are sourced, in other words, there is some reason for belief that they have some amount of plausibility to them.
Here’s one that isn’t in that category but I still think would be brilliant and I have to admit, I didn’t think it up, Michael McKenry did.
Bring back Andrew McCutchen.
The Pirates need a right handed outfielder, and a right handed option in general. Cutch is really close to some pretty significant milestones for his career, wouldn’t it be good to see him capture some of those in his adopted home of Pittsburgh?
Wouldn’t it make his eventual induction into the Pirates Hall of Honor more impactful if we had images of him achieving some of those in a Pirates uniform again? Wouldn’t it be incredible for the man who helped usher in the last relevant baseball team in our fair city be the guy who comes back to help usher in the next?
Listen, pipe dream I get it. Andrew openly wanted to play for a contender last year, maybe he still feels that way. Maybe playing with all this youth would help him recapture some himself too.
I’m not going to do a bunch of this dreaming stuff during this offseason. First, I just don’t feel they have many holes that they want to fill via free agency, second, I tend to not want to get people’s hopes up, and even if I’m a relative nobody, that’s what writing or talking about stuff like this tends to do to fans hungry for something to feel good about.
Regardless, 2023 is a rare opportunity to bring back some familiar faces and intertwine them with players that are hoping to be part of the next winning team. It doesn’t always make sense, but to me, all three of these are so logical I would be dishonest to not suggest them.