It is no secret that the Pirates are far from big players in the free agent market. The front office doesn’t seem to ever have the money to spend to go out and get what is desperately needed to move the organization in the right direction.
There are always holes to fill that are generally only allocated by journeyman vets or young players who are not ready for their debut. When the Pirates do dip into the market C-list players are all they come home with.
Prior to this year the Pirates brought in Ramon Vazquez, Craig Monroe and Eric Hinske. None of the three are on the roster. Vazquez is injured and Monroe and Hinske were released and traded respectively.
Currently with a record of 56-93 one would think big changes would happen and the Pirates would need to get those key bats and arms that would catapault to a winning season. While Neil Huntington, the GM has stated that the Pirates will be “agressive” in the Free Agent market he has also made it clear that in order for the Pirates to win they will have to build through within and get home grown talent from the minors. From the fans prespective it is so excruciating becuase the end doesn’t seem anywhere in sight. It is the same old song and dance with players who have yet to prove themselves and probably never will.
I do believe in our players and like them. Iam confident in a handful of Bucs that will be future stars and the core of our team.
LF- Lastings Milledge
Other than that nearly every position spot is up for grabs. There are minor league players waiting in the wings but who knows what will come of those risks.
There are some top free agents out there who I think the Pirates should actively pursue.
At the age of 32 Figgins would be the oldest guy in the Pittsburgh clubhouse. The youth movement isn’t really working as you can see. The Pirates have lost 21 of their last 24 and are riding the worst losing streak in the franchise since 1985. A little veteran leadership never hurt anyone. Figgins is not only a role player but success seems to follow him. He has been a staple in Lor Angeles for eight years and takes the Angels deep into the playoffs. Personally, Figgins holds a .298 batting average this season. He has always flirted with a .300 average however he lacks the power needed from a third baseman. Figgins is an upgrade over Andy LaRoche-by moving LaRoche to the bench he would have time to develop into the third baseman the Pirates thought that he could be (or should have been by now)
I’ve never been a fan of the guy ever since his John Van De Velde pitching appearance in 2003. His transition to the outfield was rather impressive and he had a good year in St. Louis last year. This year he’s been hurt and appeared in 114 games. He is a rather cheap option. He has never made above the league minimum. WHile he will probably fecth more money it shouldn’t exceed two million. In the eyes of the Pirates that is still a lot but he too would be an upgrade over the current Bucco right fielder Brandon Moss. Moss is in the same position as LaRoche. They both came in from the Jason Bay trade and were looked upon to be solid players. They have failed to meet up to expectations but will still get a chance at playing time in an attempt to save Huntington’s job.
At the beginning of the year the Pirates pitching staff was phenomenal. It was keeping them in games and setting them up for a chance at victories. Paul Maholm and Zach Duke looked great but faltered. Nobody really stood out as dominant. Ross Ohlendorf was the ace of the staff garnering double digit wins. The Pirates have options forthcoming in Charlie Morton and Daniel McCutchen but both have minimal moments of success. They have been shelled time and time again. To have a player like former All-Star Brad Penny come in to reviatlize the staff gives the team a strong option. He is now with the Giants but with the Boston and San Francisco combined he 10-9 with a 5.30 era. Mediocre at best but still better than what the Pirates have now. He would be taking a pay cut from his 10million this year. But his performance has been slipping and he is worth somehwere between 4-6 million. It would be a sacrifice but the Pirates need that to salvage their shrinking fanbase.