MLBTR Projects Burnett and Byrd Will Return to the Pirates

MLBTR projects that Marlon Byrd will return to the Pirates. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

MLBTR projects that Marlon Byrd will return to the Pirates. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

MLBTR released their 2014 top 50 free agents, complete with predictions on where each player will go. The rankings are the key thing here, showing how MLBTR stacks all of the players up against each other. The predictions are just fun, and don’t have a good track record for the Pirates. For example, last year the predictions had the Pirates signing Jeremy Guthrie, with Jason Grilli going to Milwaukee, Francisco Liriano going to Boston, and Russell Martin going to the Yankees. They did have the Pirates as a team in the market for a catcher.

This year the predictions seem like they could be accurate. The two players projected to go to the Pirates are A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd. Burnett was ranked as the ninth best free agent, and it’s not hard to see how he could return to the Pirates, since he has said he would play for them or retire. Byrd was ranked as the 24th best free agent, and MLBTR says a two-year, $15 M deal seems possible. That’s exactly what I thought Byrd’s market could be, working off the Ryan Ludwick deal two years ago.

Even more interesting than those two predictions are the amount of mentions the Pirates received. MLBTR had them as possibilities for the following players (with rankings):

12. Carlos Beltran

14. Stephen Drew

17. Nelson Cruz

21. Jhonny Peralta

30. Josh Johnson

31. Tim Hudson

If they went for a shortstop, I’d prefer Peralta over Drew, since Drew has some inconsistencies that have been heavily due to injuries. Beltran and Cruz would obviously be if they didn’t get Marlon Byrd. I could only see them going after Johnson or Hudson if Burnett retired. However, if Burnett came back, and they signed one of those two pitchers, that would open the doors for a trade from the rotation, and you might already know who I’ve suggested dealing and replacing with Josh Johnson.

It’s only a list of teams that could be interested, but I can’t remember the last time the Pirates were talked about this much in free agency. I guess that’s what happens when you make the playoffs, and have very few needs going into the following season.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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