Pirates Roundtable: What Do You Think of the Pirates’ Veteran Additions?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been busy this offseason. They’ve added an influx of talent, most recently bringing back franchise icon Andrew McCutchen.

They have also added Carlos Santana, Ji-Man Choi, Austin Hedges, Rich Hill, Vince Velasquez, and Jarlin Garcia to their team, among others.

The overall additions have boosted the veteran influence on this team, while also upgrading a few holes on a 100-loss team.

For this week’s Roundtable, I asked the team for their thoughts on the veteran additions. I’m sitting this one out, since you can see my similar thoughts in First Pitch from last week.

What do you think of the Pirates’ veteran additions?


The off-season veteran roster additions are an interesting group that should make the Pirates more fun for the fans to watch until the group of top tier prospects at the upper levels start making their debuts mid-to-late season. Andrew McCutchen was an outstanding addition for the fans, as well as a good one for the team. I think they went about it all wrong for the future of the team, but that thought really didn’t set in until I saw how much money they were spending.

I still think 2024 is the first season we will see them compete for the playoffs, but the guys they added won’t be around. It feels like they could have gone after one big piece for a longer contract with the same amount of money, so that player is actually a key part of the future. At this point they spent a lot of money (in Pirates terms) on guys who might not last the full season, but also won’t have huge trade value unless you can package them. Then all you have left from this group is Jarlin Garcia in a bullpen role, and McCutchen possibly returning as a backup in 2024, because he wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh.

Basically what they did is improve a 62-win team slightly, while doing very little for the future. They are just going to need to plug holes next year again. The hope is that the holes are fewer and they could actually do what they didn’t do this off-season — adding a big piece for more than one season. I will note that they seem to have added a great group of veterans for the young players to be around, so that could have some future impact we don’t see on the stats sheet.


I don’t know, maybe I’m mostly indifferent?

Austin Hedges should be solid behind the plate until a hopefully more long-term option makes their way up. Ji-Man Choi and Carlos Santana should be better at first base because it would be nearly impossible not to be. Rich Hill should help stabilize and bring experience to a rotation who could use it while hopefully still being effective, and while I’m personally having trouble seeing why it’s such a big deal, apparently fans are happy to see McCutchen back. He’s not going to be the player of old, which I think mostly everyone realizes, but I don’t think he’s going to hurt the team in any way either.

Nothing is obviously guaranteed, but it’s hard to imagine the team not being better than it has been the last three seasons, and there’s value in that. If anything, they should have been making more moves like this the past several seasons, so I’m certainly not going to complain about them. Teams should be trying to put their best product on the field, but the problem is that if this is their best, it’s still not good enough. Sure, there are going to be real, actual major league options available—again, an undeniably good thing—but it’s very unlikely to lead to any kind of contention, at least in my eyes, and that’s the point of all of this.

The hope would be that actually winning some games leads to positive vibes on the field and more effort off of it to get this turned around even sooner. The product will be better, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s just not enough.


Just as well to ask this question after the signing of Andrew McCutchen. That significantly changed the offseason. Apart from the sentimental aspects, the analytics suggest Cutch has more in the tank than it appeared from his 2022 season. He also should help the team dramatically against LHPs. As an added benefit, Cutch should serve as a Shelton Stoopid Suppressor. His presence should greatly reduce the risk of Ji-Man Choi seeing many LHPs, or of weak-hitting middle infielders playing in the outfield.

Beyond Cutch and Rich Hill – also a good addition – there wasn’t much to recommend the team’s veteran acquisitions. Maybe most disturbing was the process; once again, Ben Cherington went straight for the bottom of the market, targeting the guys who weren’t likely to draw interest elsewhere. It was especially disappointing given the opportunity for massive improvement over the biblically horrific situations Cherington created at first base and catcher last year. An improvement just to average at those positions would have been enormous, but Cherington chose to aim for not-horrible.

The Vince Velasquez acquisition also made little sense, as he’s not remotely comparable to Tyler Anderson or Jose Quintana. The acquisitions of Connor Joe and Jarlin Garcia were OK. They’re both modest-ceiling, high-risk players. In Joe’s case, he’s coming off a bad season and moving from Coors Field to a home park that figures to be extremely unfriendly for him. In Garcia’s, the Pirates are getting a pitcher who fell off badly over the last four months of 2022, and who’s always been totally reliant on extremely low BABIPs.

The big remaining question is whether Cherington will follow his practice of previous seasons, waiting until partway through spring training, then acquiring washed-up or never-was players who can safely be expected to drag the team down. Hopefully, Cherington will recognize that Cutch – on his own initiative and not Cherington’s – salvaged the Pirates’ offseason and leave well enough alone.


I have two thoughts as far as the veterans the team has added this offseason. As individuals, I like each addition that the Pirates have done so far this offseason. They upgraded first base which was a priority, signed one of the best defensive catchers in the game to help a young pitching staff and brought back Andrew McCutchen — who still has some game left in him. 

The only issue I have with it all is that it feels like it sets up too many potential platoon situations that may stretch the roster too thin. Adding McCutchen after signing Carlos Santana seems odd too, after it looked like the latter was going to take the majority of the at-bats at DH.

McCutchen was primarily the DH for the Milwaukee Brewers last year, but still got time in the outfield. He graded out better than he had in quite some time, depending on the site you look at, so there may be potential to play him in the field more than expected. If not, you kind of clogged up the most limited position to two players and in the process, still left more question marks in the outfield that need to be answered.

Outside of that, every move was made for an exact reason, and it’s to help the young players continue to mature, which is exactly what they needed to do at this stage in the build.


I think the veteran additions for the Pittsburgh Pirates is an overall positive. I believe they’ll bring with them a mixture of performance and a set of intangibles that the team has desperately missed over the past few seasons. 

On the surface level, I don’t think many can say objectively that the Pirates will be a competitor. What I believe can be said though is that the team has substantially increased their floor. With that, we’ve come full circle back to Neal Huntington. Providing a floor and then hoping everyone hits their highest percentile potential. 

The Pirates don’t have a pitcher that strikes fear in opponents, but by adding Austin Hedges along with a pitcher like Rich Hill, they should enter games fully prepared with a game plan. The team won’t be reliant on whether or not Luis Ortiz and Johan Oviedo are ready to step into immediate roles, rather they can continue to refine their games, while being the first to be called upon when a need arises. It’s a depth improvement from Zach Thompson, Bryse Wilson, and Jerad Eickhoff

Ji-Man Choi and Carlos Santana will bring a sense of stability in a position that hasn’t had stability in quite some time. The Pirates stand to have a young, wild-throwing middle infield that having a veteran presence at first base should help mediate, even if only incrementally. 

Then there’s the addition of Andrew McCutchen that should improve the overall product on and off the field. Fans aren’t going to limit their distaste for the organization, but McCutchen’s return should dial it back. There was a time when fans would be irate if they saw McCutchen and Josh Harrison smiling while the team was in the midst of a slump, but the past few years have left fans with a desire for anything to bring some semblance of joy in the game of baseball. 

I have mentioned a few times previously that I believe the team needed personality. Something, or someone, that allowed fans to better connect with the team. More than another wry-smiled player saying, “We fought hard and tried our best.” The organization brought in players that have the potential to make baseball fun again in Pittsburgh.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.

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I like the veteran additions. IMO, the additions represent a transition in the evolution of this team to a higher level of competitive play. These are veterans that can bring a higher quality of play and veteran leadership to a team with some high ceiling young talent. I don’t think this is the season to throw a lot of money and a multi-year deal at a higher impact player. Maybe that will be next year…..this should be a fun year.


Yoshi in 2021 was one of the worst players in MLB.
Bucs claimed him after his second DFA
A harmless move to fill innings at seasons end
Cost 4M
Results -one of the worst if not the worst players in MLB
Set the team back 18 months at the 1B position
Sheltless, showed no mercy to yoshie, he started him 50 games
before the injury immediatly after injury all the way to the very end
Idiot showed zero mercy to players, coaches, trainers, bat boys, umpires, announcers, Doctors, grounds crew

He will do the same with Conner Joe


In fairness to Cherington, bringing back Yoshi last year wasn’t the worst move at the time. Yoshi was coming off an end to 2021 in which he looked very good.


Boy you guys are tough. If you look back, historically over my lifetime at good pirate teams, I think the one common thread is to have a horse. We did not do that this off-season. I would’ve liked to seen money spent on that. We’ve had great teams with journeyman players, but not journeyman pitchers. Just work backwards: AJ, Burnett, Doug Drabek., Steve Blass, Bert Blyleven, Candelaria, somebody who is solid and pitch 200 innings and lead the staff. Doesn’t have to be a Cy Young candidate.


This saloon ain’t big enough fer two Wilburs.


In 2022 there were eight pitchers who threw 200 innings. Perhaps a reframing is in order.


Look at the veteran additions by position, SP, SP, 1B, DH, C, OF. First, there were needs at all these positions , and in many cases, there are highly ranked prospects coming soon to play in these spots. So it makes sense to only go after vets for 1 season. The exception would be starting pitching. I was hoping they signed a vet on a multi-year deal.

Hopefully this season will bring more clarity and they will only need to find a couple or few vets to round out the lineup and rotation, and will be able to go after higher priced vets on longer term contracts for those spots.

Sounds good in theory.

Next, they had a huge need for veteran leadership. They have addressed this need extremely well and it will pay dividends long after these vets are gone.


Well, it definitely has the vibe of a stopgap year. As much as I … “appreciate” the spending of money. Zero of the deals, correct me if I’m wrong, are longer than one year. That kind of tells you how the office feels about the players they added. They’re here this year, gone the next, with the thought process being the younger guys will be in a position to play ball next year. Let’s hope that’s true.

However, how can you dislike the acquisition of Old Cutch. Our Neo. The One. 1B is upgraded although not a big Choi fan. Hill is a good target for the veteran leadership. Hell, they all are. Because they’re old. It’s not a bad offseason by any means. But after being starved for absolutely anything the last two years. And in addition to the very many questionable 40 man roster moves, AND the Rule 5 draft losses… I’m still not entirely sure our front office knows what they’re doing.


Jarlin Garcia deal includes a club option for ’24. I would have liked to see the same for the other vets (not Hill or Hedges).


Choi I do believe has 2 years left before FA. Of all the moves the Cutch signing is probably the worst one. When it comes time to move Cutch to a lesser role, he’s not going to take it well & either will his fans, no matter how obvious it is, which is going to blow up in the organizations face. None of these vets are going to help them win in the future. If the young guys need more mentors, then hire a few more or better coaches. They don’t need to take valuable PT from the future players.
This off season was a disaster, not at the Archer trade level, but still a disaster, including bringing Cutch back.


Choi is a free agent in 2024. Cutch is a different player with a different mindset than before his ACL injury. He will accept his role even as it gets pared back. He’s not going to embarrass himself in his home town, assuming he lives here post-retirement like Franco.


He threw a fit when moved to LF, he threw a fit when he got moved to the 2hole. He will do so again


Adding veterans was a good move. They’re all relatively cheap, one-year contracts. Hopefully, Cutch does well and is signed for one or more years. His baseball acumen, veteran leadership, and Pittsburgh pedigree will be very helpful. It would also be helpful if the team is improved so the younger players get to feel what it’s like to win. However, the Pirates could mess this up if they allow veterans to block deserving prospects from major league playing time.
John Dreker suggests the Pirates sign “one big piece” for the 2024 season. I’m wondering who he has in mind. It seems to me that unless the “one big piece” is a #1 pitcher, that piece is already on the roster, i.e., Bryan Reynolds. Obviously, the Pirates are attempting to show its fans they’re serious. Want to convince us? Spend some money and sign Reynolds!

Last edited 2 months ago by adicesa14

Better then signing Reynolds is locking up Keller, Contreras, Rodriguez, Cruz past their FA status.
Signing Reynolds into his FA years is only overspending on the wrong side of 31.


Certainly, if the Pirates intend to maintain a winning team that doesn’t require a complete rebuild every few years, they must sign some players to ‘post-control’ contracts. Being a small market, key questions like: How many, how long, who, and when to approach them, require answers. Your suggestions are good ones but responding to these suggested questions (if I’m not insane!) would indicate Keller is the only one requiring a current decision. Contreras, Rodriguez, and Cruz seem to be future viable candidates for ‘long-term contracts, but not yet. Let’s see if they ‘pan-out.’
Keller, as well as Reynolds, are approaching free agency, i.e., three years or less of control remaining. Keller’s 2nd half 2022 performance was promising, and if it continues, the Pirates should approach him to extend. Reynolds has nothing to prove. He’s not Mickey mantle, but he’s damn good. To maintain a reasonable window to future contentions, the Pirates need to maintain a core (three to five, I think) of ‘star-type’ players. Hayes is the 1st, Reynolds ought to be next, and Keller should become a consideration. Of course, there will be failures, but that’s baseball. The long-term contracts should be spaced out (i.e., every one or two years) and of length to ‘buy-out’ two to four post- control years. Some number of top end Pirate players could be retained as an assembly-line just like the current number and spread of Pirate prospects seem to be. Hence, the ‘core’ could be supplemented as needed with short term players and prospects to minimize ‘bottom dwelling’ Pirate teams and allow periodic contention.


Contreras, Cruz & Rodriguez didn’t get the big time bonuses & coming from their backgrounds should be the easier signs. The earlier the signing the cheaper they come. I pushed for Keller last year, the more they wait, the more he improves, the more expensive he gets. They waited to long on Reynolds, they shouldn’t make the same mistake with Keller.


Why? Explain a bit. He’s signed for the next three years.


This. We have him for his prime and I fear he won’t age well after. Cutch lost it right around that time.


With BC targeting 1 yr deals with vets, I hope they provide the transformation in culture and maturity that we are all hoping for while also boosting our base level of talent to a degree that fans get excited a bit and show up a bit more for a team that should win ~75 games. BC did this with the 30 mil influx from MLB, but maybe a little boost in attendance allows him to roll that much into next years team, whether through reynolds/cruz extension or additional FA


I don’t see anyway they extend Cruz given the overall volatility in his expected outcomes at this point. He is so boom or bust; any extension would need to factor in that risk and be extremely team friendly.

But I agree, attendance hit a 20+ year, pre-pandemic low in 2022. They could reasonably expect a 20% to 25% increase, which would definitely help to fund future payroll increases.

Last edited 2 months ago by Anthony

Are Pirates still +15000 to win world series as they were to start offseason? That is worth a $1 bet if so as we are probably a 73 win team, and may luck into some more with the young bucs joining in august.


Nice article on Fangraphs about Bryan Reynolds. Is he a 6 fWAR switchhitting CF or the 2.9 fWAR version who, because of poor defensive numbers in CF, will have to move to one of the corners? Miles of Value between those two possibilities.

Good chance he knows he has to come into 2023 in great shape and play like his hair is on fire! I hope he can validate his ability to stay in CF as a very valuable asset to a contender.


I can’t get over the casualness of this absolutely scorching hot take:

But why shouldn’t the Pirates make that case? First of all, the Nationals got fleeced in the Soto deal partially because — and this leads into point no. 2 — they got the trade done in a matter of weeks when they had two years to divine Soto’s true trade value and/or wait for a trade partner to get truly desperate.”


I’m not sure Reynolds comes into camp thrilled to be there at all.


That’s an indictment on his character. I’m surprised anyone would think as much about Reynolds. He has shown nothing but pure professionalism since coming to Pittsburgh.

I have no doubt he will give 100% effort for every game he suits up as a Pirate whether or not he’s extended. It’s not in his makeup to act like a petulant child because he didn’t get his way in contract negotiations.


It’s no more an indictment of his character or anyone else in any sport that REQUESTS a trade. Things are BAD when that happens. Look at the NFL and NBA. The players get what they want in those sports. Because very shortly afterward, you have chemistry and morale issues. I’m not condemning Reynolds qualities as a human. I’m saying when you REQUEST to leave a place, your job, ect. And your boss says no. That’s not a good situation.


You should listen to the NS9 podcast w Michael McHenry from a couple weeks ago. He addresses this situation and explains how it’s not what you may think.


What does that have to do with anything? No baseball player has a choice of team and saying publically that you don’t like fact doesn’t mean anything. I am certain half the players want to be on a different team but saying so isn’t cool. If he is whiny about in spring training, that’s his fault for making a scene where everyone else sucks it up. Seriously, hundreds of players a year don’t get a contract they like. Prima Donna.

And it won’t affect his play. He will play better than ever knowing BC won’t trade him if he isn’t good enough to get a huge return.

Last edited 2 months ago by sewer2001

“And it won’t affect his play.” Idk about that. If he breaks camp and heads north, it will be awkward for him at PNC. He’s not a guy who likes the limelight, and this trade stunt is going to shine brightly on him…..pretty much right thru Aug. 1. It’s got the potential to distract him, and may bother him if fans turn on him even a little bit.


The history in sports of players requesting to be traded is one fraught with drama. I hope you’re right. But the way this has been brushed under the rug like it’s not an issue is an issue in and of itself. Reynolds is our best player on the team. When your best player requests to be traded, that is not good. It effects the chemistry and morale of the team. This can effect production. He’s one of my favorite players on the team. On December 2nd or 3rd when he publicly said he wanted out. That was a real gut check.

Last edited 2 months ago by phieralph

Agreed…….did we ever learn who put this out publically? Was it his agent or BRey or someone leak it? The best thing that could happen is Reynolds could do a media presser at the start of ST and express his regrets and commit to the Pirates in 2023 and hopefully beyond. He’s a very reluctant interview, so I’m not holding my breath.


It would be nice if teams could compete equally on free agents but the Pirates sign players who are past their prime while the large market teams sign players who can make a real impact on teams who are in the hunt for the playoffs and World Series, so it doesn’t matter if I like
who the Pirates signed because they may make the Pirates a little better next season but better than what? 68, 72, 76. I hate being a fan of a team who never has a chance.

Wilbur Miller

Since Nutting took over —
Pirates 225 games under .500
Rays 175 games over .500
MLB’s financial system isn’t the primary problem.


These results are not because Rays throw money at top FA’s, it’s because they draft/develop better than Pirates (and basically everyone else).

His point about MLB Economics is pretty much spot on. Owners, Players, and Agents all collude to ensure the best players play on the big name teams with the biggest fan bases.

Simple truth is other sports, NFL & NHL to name a couple, take economics out of the competitive equation, while MLB enhances it greatly.

Wilbur Miller

The game isn’t fair, but it’s way more complicated than this. First off, the Rays aren’t the only low-spending team wildly outperforming the Pirates. Cleve is 112 games over .500 since Nutting took over, the A’s are 5 over, and had a huge stretch in the eight years just before that. The Brewers are 83 over.

The Pirates’ biggest problem is Bob Nutting. By far.


Not sure the draft, IFA signing strategy, and player development are directly under Bob’s purview.

Anyways, you didn’t address the original comment regarding Pirates never being able to be in the market for the best FA’s. That’s certainly not a BN problem, it’s an intentional business model MLB has created.


Exactly, unfortunately 90% of Pirates fans only want to concentrate on Nutting. He is horrible, but nowhere near the only problem


A veteran presence from some guys who at least know how the game is supposed to be played can’t hurt, and they spent somewhere around $30 million to get them for a year or maybe less other than perhaps in McCutchen’s case. Does it suggest they might be willing to spend at least that much or more a year on decent players in the future or is it just Nutting agreeing to spend some to counter the MLPA’s complaints about him? Hoping it’s the former but not counting on it.


I’m no Nutting fluffer but I can’t think of a conceivable way they spend lass than $100m on the roster from ’24 into the foreseeable future.

They could afford that while making money hand over fist a decade ago and revenues have only increased. The only reason they slashed payroll was because they were intentionally trying to lose. They have the money, and there’s no longer any point in waiting to use it.

Last edited 2 months ago by NMR

$80 million, $100 million, $120 million, whatever amount the Pirates spend will not be enough for the portion of the fanbase who fixate on this aspect of the team.

Should Pirates spend more? Of course. Can they afford to spend more? Almost certainly. Will they ever be able to spend their way to success? NFW!!!

Draft well + use IFA money wisely + develop better than other NL Central teams is the formula for competing for and winning division titles.


I don’t believe next years payroll comes anywhere near 100M, but only because it should be loaded with pre arbitration players, but it definitely should be the year where hopefully the only few holes is exposed that needs filled

b mcferren

spend that $30mil on Julio Urias next year please


In past years we were bottom feeding and hoping to find an All Star hiding amongst all of the trash. This group are well above the lowest level of unloved excess baggage.

Choi and Santana are good 1B – they hit and they will upgrade the infield defense just by their presence at 1B. Infielders will throw a few or more bad ones every year, but a good 1B will help lower the number that will become throwing errors. Santana from the DR could help Malcom Nunez from Cuba during ST, and Ji-Man Choi could help Ji-Hwan Bae, both of whom are from South Korea. Those are benefits that are not recognized in any numbers.

Regardless of the talent and maturity that we see in Endy Rodriguez, he will benefit from the closeness of Hedges, Heineman, and Delay in the month he will have with them in ST. ‘Cutch is a ballplayer and an icon and Joe is also a ballplayer who worked very hard to get to where he is at right now. Rich Hill hopefully will help the young Pirate pitchers such as Q did in 2022.

And, come August I hope to see the projected 2024 lineup getting 2+ months of work without regard to days of MLB Service, etc. Santana, Choi, Hill, Hedges and Joe will probably be gone. Can I hope they will take Shelton with them. New broom sweeps clean!

NorCal Buc

I had given you the “up vote,” until the Shelton comment.

Sheltie has endured a team devoid of talent during his entire tenure, yet the pitching staff has some diamonds in the rough and there are upside position players w good bats. NO ONE quit on this manager – in fact, the vibe of the clubhouse is very strong, as far as anything I have ever heard. I have only seen a bounding of these young guys who are striving, together. I give Sheltie credit for this

b mcferren

with the exception of Cutch, won´t all these guys be gone by August at the latest? Maybe even June? Are these vets being paid most of this money for the purpose of teaching in Bradenton this March?

Hill, Brubaker and Velasquez replaced in the rotation by Priester, Oviedo, Ortiz and Burrows

Santana and Choi replaced by Malcolm and Tank

Endy starts catching and Nick Gonzalez starts at second base


They should have announced each of the new signings as player/coaches. Do any of those still exist? Assume if you can play first base you could probably coach it as well. How hard would it be to send Bae for a double or hold up Santana for a single off the fence.


Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, or something like that…


Chickens are to expensive for Pittsburgh

b mcferren

No, only bees, chickens, ducks or goats are allowed as accessory uses. Other farm animals are allowed with Agriculture (General) as a primary use with a minimum lot size of two acres.



I like the terminology of bridge year used. I think some vets can help that transition. Personally I think we ‘over-vetted’ if that is a word. With the goal of a championship, that goal is still fully dependent on the growth of the younger players.

The key for me: As long as the surplus (my opinion) helps but does not delay growth then all is good.

I still fear to many at bats going to players who will be gone and growth opportunities (Suwinski or Mitchell vs. lefties as an example) lost because of veterans getting starts.

NorCal Buc

I think the young guys, Oneil, Suwinsky, Hayes, Marcano, Bae, e.g., NEED veteran presence throughout this growing time. The FO ought to have had a couple of vets in the order last year; there was NO ONE on the team who had any experience of winning !!

Now, the upside players will have a stable of vets who will more than augment their abilities. You’ll see Reynolds and Hayes relax as the spotlight is shared w McCutchen, Santana, Hedges, and Connor Joe and Choi

NOW, these upstarts can focus on doing what they do best, and NOT have to carry the entire team


Why didn’t we take this year’s approach (ie, signing some credible veterans instead of the Dysons & Van Meters) in prior years? In no particular order:

1- this seems like a realistic bridge year whereas past seasons did not;
2 – we’re generally spending Steve Cohen’s $, not Bob’s; and
3- shame. “Sell the Team” shirt kid; Hodgepodge of Nothingness national headlines; Reynolds demanding trade on eve of winter meetings in front of the entire MLB ecosystem; national mockery of cell phones & sunflower seeds; in short: being widely regarded as a pathetic joke of a professional organization. Yes even the Nuttings have a breaking point on disparagement of the family name. Or at least Ogden does while he is still around

Scam likely

Don’t forget drafting a kid in the minor league phase of the rule 5 draft on the suspended list and then passing with 6 spots left.


There’s been an extremely odd narrative brewing that akshually clubs don’t tank for draft position when it’s exceptionally obvious clubs are tanking for draft position.

They were tanking for draft position!


NMR – spot on. While I totally get the frustration of a losing major league team and they were bad.. so why not embrace and maybe benefit from it. Signing ‘better’ players to be ‘meh’ instead of terrible (which they succeeded in becoming) can be counter productive. I don’t want to endorse an every 5 year tank.. but the injured Archer / closer in Jail Pirates had the tankability process set up for them.


And even if one argues the variability in the draft means there’s not THAT much difference between first and tenth pick or whatever, there very much IS a big difference in draft pool that comes with each.

Of course teams tank for draft position.


The Draft Pool number comes with nothing. For your next house I give you a recommended price of $2.5 million. I will give you $0.00. Enjoy!


Nah that ain’t it, boss.

The draft pool provides opportunity that MLB regulates out of existence.

They don’t even allow you to offer on that $2.5m house even though its so underpriced that you can both afford it and get a phenomenally large return of value for it.

If you can’t understand the value of the draft pool, I don’t understand how one can believe they understand the draft at all to begin with.

Last edited 2 months ago by NMR

You nailed it!! This is a very misunderstood concept. The slotting system makes one think that is the “value” of the pick. When in reality, the value is infinitely greater, especially to a team like the Pirates who spend a greater proportion of their total payroll on draft bonus compensation. This is by far the easiest and least expensive way for teams, any team, to acquire talent. So, if you ain’t gonna be any good, you should be really really bad.

Last edited 1 month ago by Anthony

2 – Or are we spending the BamTech money distributed last month?


Or not…


Juicy topic, but where’s Tim’s comments?

Good points made by all contributors. Agree this veteran approach could’ve been taken the past couple years too rather than rolling out all the waiver claim guys.

Glad WTM mentioned the Cutch piece that it’s really only through his own action (& I guess bargain Bob should get some cred) that he’s back & not bc of BC.

While there were a couple FA that I preferred over the ones they ended up with, it’s a 2 way street on if the players would want to take the deals to come to the Burgh where they know there’s always a cheaper younger player the organization would love to replace them with.

While I preferred reunions with Jamo, Quintana, &/or Bell, I’m glad Cutch is back. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the DH position with Cutch, Choi, & Santana, while also maintaining the appropriate OF rotation with guys like Suwinski, Mitchell, Bae, & possibly Villade, Swagerty, & Gorski later in the season.


The story is cutch was the instigator and Nutting made it happen, but that could be arranged as well. To make Nutting look good. We don’t really know.


My bad, I blanked on that one


I missed it too

Wilbur Miller

When you think about it, why didn’t they target Cutch? They supposedly want OBP now and Cutch still has an elite batting eye, as statcast shows. They have a bunch of young guys who’d benefit from just watching him hit. They need help vs. LHPs and they need OF help. Now that it’s done, it seems like a great fit. Only Cutch saw that??


Exactly, sounded like the Bucs didn’t even reach out to him at all this offseason or the deal would’ve been done quick. We’ve got bits & pieces of the story, but it sounds like a cluster eff on a couple parts.

Once the Santana & Choi deals were done early, so it made sense that one of those guys would be slotted into the DH role. Then once Cutch signed, it was like ok great, he’s going to play a bunch in the Corner OF & DH vs LHP, then at his press conference Cutch says he’ll primarily be the DH & occasionally play OF.

The whole process feels weird & inefficient, but it’s overshadowed by the fact everyone is happy he’s back.


It takes two to tango; Cutch’s ask, both in terms of playing time and years/money, could have changed dramatically over the last three months based on the market. These things are extremely fluid and can change very quickly, on both sides.

Also, I’m not seeing him as an ideal fit when you takeaway his previous tenure with the team. Yes, his results lagged expected outcomes, but his overall quality of contact fell considerably as he posted his lowest xwOBA of his career, which was below average for DHs.



Not that you care, but I took a closer at Cutch’s numbers. I would primarily play him in LF. I think he has the range to play the position adequately, and his bat profiles better in LF relative to league average. Plus, this strengthens and lengthens the lineup as you’re able to bat both Santana and Choi. The way I see it, they have about 1800-2000 PAs to divide between four players at 1B, DH, and LF.


I care! I agree, the best lineup they can put out there includes Cutch in the OF. I was thinking Joe & Suwinski might profile in LF better than Cutch at home, but doubt that it’s a good idea to keep switching Corner OF’s position every home vs away game.

Are you Anthony Murphy, the one that post the youtube clips? If so, thank you for that, it’s appreciated.


I am not Anthony Murphy, I am “the other” Anthony lol


I’d have to re-listen to BC’s interview, but he did allude to having Cutch on his radar, and alluding to making contact with his agent earlier in the offseason. Was he BSing……or legit…..IDK?


I am with Wilbur almost 100%. I think Dock Mountain’s shelf life will finally be reached sometime in 2023. So, that means that, other than the sentimentality of adding Cutch who may have something left in the tank vs LHPs, none of them thrilled me.

VV and Connor Joe are meh. And I can’t wait until we clamor for letting the pitchers hit and DH’ing for Austin Hedges.

Choi and Santana ARE better than what we trotted out there last year at DH/1b but that was an extremely low bar. Both are trending down in their careers. And BC’s concentration on OBP, while a nice thought, will not move our offense out of the 20s in all likelihood.

72-90. And that is being optimistic. Hopefully, we can get to .500 in 2024. And that is being REALLY optimistic.


‘Dick’ Mountain. For some reason, I couldn’t edit it.


People who don’t like the Choi signing should read this. He also plays a good 1B. And the “no shift” rule really should help him. Comparing him to Yoshi isn’t remotely comparable.



He is being overlooked by many. I noted this on several other comment threads, but Choi’s xwOBA was second best on the Rays last season. His quality of contact is very good. This is a common theme with their other FA signings, particularly Santana.


I’ll ignore the fact that they acquired him in the first place and point out that this is a good reason for dropping Andujar. He’s always stunk, even in his “good” year.


ANYBODY will be better than Yoshi. Very low bar. Btw, from what I’ve read, Santana is better defensively.


And I remember Pirates fans clamoring for them to resign Yoshi last offseason. If they didn’t, Pirates fans would’ve have rioted. Of course that soured very quickly but we r talking preseason right now.


No way. Santana DH only probably.


From the Trib when we signed him (Kevin Gorman): He has hit at least 18 home runs each season since 2011 and has developed into a strong defensive first baseman.’

I also read that a few other places. Plus, I read where he is better than Choi, who is considered average. I have NO idea what his defensive metrics say, so there’s that.



**Moves a lot better than Vogelbach.

Last edited 2 months ago by pittsburghbob69

I’ve watched Santana for the last two years. He is a very capable first baseman. Will he hit? IDK. But it’s a one-year contract and it’s not my money.


They were never going to contend this year, at least on paper. I would argue that they should jump close to 75-80 wins as is. 2 more wins monthly puts them with a shot at the post season. Some things working out may make that happen. I don’t believe Suwinski is an answer in the OF and look for him to start in AAA to work on his strikeouts. That may give Cutch the RF job early in the year with Brey in LF and Bae in CF. I’m surprised that the pundits all see JS as making the team as I think a month or 2 working on his game would be invaluable. Joe has options and may start there as well. I like the addition of Hedges, Choi and Santana. It should be a fun year.

Scam likely

These vets are going to mentor the shit out of these young players, until some of the vets prove they can’t play anymore and thus be rightfully ignored. 69-93.

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