Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington describes the market for available starters as "thin," but says the Pirates "need" to upgrade their rotation. Huntington told MLBTR that he is mindful of pitching prospects such as Rudy Owens, Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia who are rising through the Pirates system. But they won't prevent him from offering multi-year deals to free agents.
"We're not opposed to multi-year deals for the right player," Huntington said. "But what we can't do is vastly overpay in terms of years and/or dollars just to get somebody … to make ourselves feel better in November. We've got to pay players for what they're going to do, not what they've done."
The Pirates don't have a distinct preference for left-handers or right-handers. Ideally, they'd get a pitcher who can strike people out, but as Huntington points out, every other team wants just that. Recent reports suggest the Pirates are interested in former Rockies lefties Jeff Francis and Jorge de la Rosa.
Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, now the Pirates' skipper, has not yet discussed Ryan Doumit's 2011 role with Huntington in detail. At this point, Huntington says the Pirates can see him filling a number of roles in 2011.
"We've got the ability to have him catch some; he can be the complement to Chris Snyder; he's got the ability with some Spring Training work to maybe go play some at first and then also the opportunity to go play out in right field. So he's got some versatility," Huntington said.
Huntington declined to comment specifically on Andrew McCutchen, but he acknowledged that the Pirates generally have interest in giving top players security with extensions that cover some free agent seasons.