Offseason Outlook: Pittsburgh Pirates

Click here to view previous offseason outlooks.  Today, a look at your 2009 Pirates.

C – Ryan Doumit – $412K+
C – Ronny Paulino – $424K
1B – Adam LaRoche – $5MM+
2B – Freddy Sanchez – $6.1MM
SS – Jack Wilson – $7.25MM
3B – Andy LaRoche – $400K
IF – Brian Bixler – $400K
IF – Luis Cruz – $400K
LF – Brandon Moss – $400K
CF – Nate McLouth – $425K+
RF – Steve Pearce – $400K
OF – Nyjer Morgan – $400K

SP – Paul Maholm – $425K+
SP – Ian Snell – $3MM
SP – Tom Gorzelanny – $419K
SP – Ross Ohlendorf – $400K
SP – Zach Duke – $400K+

RP – Matt Capps – $2.3MM
RP – John Grabow – $1.135MM+
RP – Tyler Yates – $800K+
RP – Craig Hansen – $700K
RP – T.J. Beam – $450K
RP – Denny Bautista – $400K+
RP – Phil Dumatrait – $400K

Other candidates: Jeff Karstens – $400K, Daniel McCutchen – $400K, Sean Burnett – $400K, Robinzon Diaz – $400K, Andrew McCutchen – $400K

Non-tender candidates: Jason Davis – $650K+, Raul Chavez – $550K+

Other commitments: Yoslan Herrera – $400K

The Bucs entered ’08 with a $48.7MM payroll.  The ’09 team has about $30.5MM committed before arbitration raises to Doumit, LaRoche, McLouth, Maholm, Duke, Grabow, Yates, and Bautista.  Even after those, they’ll still be comfortably under $40MM.  So there is no need to make payroll-motivated trades.

It is fair to suggest the Pirates moved in the right direction with this year’s trades.  This team won’t sniff contention in 2009, even with some breakout seasons.  Right now it’s simply a team short on star power without much in the way of hitting or pitching.  It will get worse before it gets better if the Bucs move LaRoche and/or Wilson this winter.  The focus should be a young shortstop and pitching.  The Pirates won’t be signing any significant free agents.

Doumit, McLouth, and Maholm were the bright spots in ’08.  Hopefully those players can sustain their success while players like Andy LaRoche, Moss, Snell, and Ohlendorf take a step forward.  Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata represent outfield promise for the future.  Signing Pedro Alvarez would add another future star to the farm system.  Neal Huntington did a nice job amassing young arms this year, and I’m sure he’ll continue to do so.  With some luck added, the Pirates could be competitive in 2010. 

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