The Pittsburgh Pirates are headed into the 2017 Winter Meetings with a very foggy perception of what they intend to do next season. The Winter Meetings will take place December 10-14 in Orlando, FL.
The Bucs have officially been ruled out of the chase for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, or as they call him in Japan, the “Japanese Babe Ruth“.
The speculation at the Winter Meetings will be dominated by the landing spots of Ohtani, Giancarlo Stanton, Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, and of course Andrew McCutchen. Where those players go really has counter-effects on the majority of other teams.
It is said that the San Francisco Giants are in the lead as far as the Stanton sweepstakes go. But, if the Giants are not able to lure in the reigning NL MVP, they are said to be going after the 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen.
Pittsburgh has already engaged in trade talks with the Giants, showing that they are willing to move McCutchen if the price is right. Look for them to continue shopping him throughout the Winter Meetings next week.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 29, 2017
For the Buccos, their most prized possession this offseason would be acquiring a lefty-reliever to add to the bullpen. Pittsburgh is always willing to take on another solid arm to bolster their bullpen and that is the main goal this winter headed into the spring.
Rivero is undoubtedly off the table after becoming one of the MLB’s most dominant relievers in the second half of last year at a bare minimum price. I am not as confident that the remaining three will stay in Pittsburgh.
Gerrit Cole is an above average pitcher in a free-agent market that is not very strong in that department. If teams are looking for a quality starter, Cole could be their target. He finished 2017 with a 12-12 record in 33 starts and a 4.26 ERA in 200+ innings of work. Not stellar, but he was able to punch-out 196 batters which is intriguing for some clubs.
Infielder Jordy Mercer is headed into his last year on his contract and the Pirates have two young shortstops in Kevin Newman and Max Moroff. Mercer finished his 2017 campaign hitting only .255 but did manage a career-high 14 homers. A sure hand at shortstop, Mercer may be coveted this offseason as a one-year rental.
If either of those two were to be traded, clearly Cole would give them a realistic chance to acquire better prospects than Mercer could. Having a strong minor league system has always been a card in Pittsburgh’s hand, so reloading is always a possibility.
The Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates Minor League affiliate, won the International League West in 2017 with a 79-63 record. The Tribe was led by a plethora of young talent that Pirate fans may see in 2018. Be on the lookout for OF Austin Meadows, OF Christopher Bostick, OF Danny Ortiz, OF Eury Perez, SS Kevin Newman, and C Jacob Stallings to all possibly receive a call-up at any point during 2018.
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