While all of the talk out of the Pirates in the past few days has centered on outfielder Bryan Reynolds wanting a trade out of Pittsburgh, the team remains focused on additions. Per a report from Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic, pitching is a priority for Pittsburgh, and general manager Ben Cherington has the budget to potentially acquire two veteran starters.
“I don’t know if we will, but we could if we wanted to or the right matches lined up,” Cherington said.
The Bucs were reportedly interested in adding Kyle Gibson before he wound up signing a one-year, $10MM deal with the Orioles. It’s unknown whether or not the Pirates got to the point of making an offer to Gibson, but their interest there can be used to identify potential other targets, and Biertempfel names Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough as possible options.
Roansy Contreras and Mitch Keller are both penciled into the top two spots in Pittsburgh’s rotation. Contreras flashed some quality stuff in his rookie year, while Keller put together his best season with the Pirates, making 29 starts and pitching to a 3.91 ERA. JT Brubaker is the other name who will certainly return as a back-of-the-rotation arm.
Outside of that trio, the Pirates have Bryse Wilson, Johan Oviedo and Zach Thompson as options. They also have a number of pitching prospects breaking into the upper-minors, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Luis Ortiz, Quinn Priester, Kyle Nicholas or Mike Burrows are part of the picture at some point next year.
Nonetheless, a veteran addition to stabilize things makes plenty of sense. Cherington’s comments certainly don’t sound like it’s likely that the team signs two veteran starters, but at least one should arrive. Biertempfel’s report also notes that Cherington is willing to consider the trade market for options, as well as looking into multi-year deals.
Pittsburgh’s had a lot of success with low-profile additions to their rotation in recent years. In 2021, they signed Tyler Anderson to a one-year, $2.5MM deal and flipped him to Seattle at the deadline for prospects Carter Bins and Joaquin Tejada. This year, Jose Quintana joined on a one-year, $2MM pact, he excelled and the Pirates were able to get Oviedo and Malcolm Nunez from the Cardinals at the deadline. Another deal with a low-cost addition that the Pirates can potentially turn into a trade chip at the deadline seems likely next season as well.