The Pirates are coming off a season that saw the club take some steps forward as young players like Jack Suwinski and Johan Oviedo took steps forward while prospects like Henry Davis and Endy Rodriguez rose to the majors for the first time. Unfortunately, those young players didn’t help Pittsburgh much in the standings as the club finished fourth in the NL Central with a 76-86 record, 16 games back of the division-leading Brewers while key pieces like Oviedo and Rodriguez are expected to miss the 2024 season.
Those obstacles aren’t stopping the Pirates from participating in the shallower end of free agency, however. The club has already inked Rowdy Tellez and brought back Andrew McCutchen to help fill out the lineup, and Kevin Gorman of TribLive relays comments from GM Ben Cherington indicating the club hopes to add at least one more position player to the mix. One player Gorman notes the club has been connected to in the rumor mill is second baseman Adam Frazier, who spent parts of six seasons in Pittsburgh following the club drafting him in the sixth-round of the 2013 draft and promoting him to the majors in 2016.
Since the Pirates traded Frazier to the Padres partway through the 2021 season, Frazier struggled with both San Diego and Seattle before catching on with the Orioles on a one-year deal last offseason. Though Frazier saw his playing time reduced somewhat by the presence of young, up-and-coming players like Jordan Westburg vying for playing time at the keystone, he still got semi-regular playing time in Baltimore. In 455 trips to the plate with the Orioles last season, Frazier slashed .240/.300/.396 with a wRC+ of 93, a considerable upgrade over the 80 wRC+ he posted in Seattle the previous year. While approximately league average offense and rough defense (-15 OAA, -1 DRS) at second base isn’t exactly an impact signing, the addition of Frazier to the Pirates lineup could offer the club a stable, veteran solution at the keystone while not blocking the likes of Nick Gonzalez from taking a step forward and seizing everyday playing time in the majors.
More from around the league’s Central divisions…
- The Twins have faced plenty of uncertainty regarding the future of their TV broadcasting situation this offseason, prompting the club to cut payroll even after the club won its first playoff game since 2004. Some clarity of the specifics of Minnesota’s situation could be on the horizon as we head into the new year, according to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. Miller reports that the Twins have been in the midst of negotiations with Bally Sports North to televise the club’s games in 2024. Though the previous deal between the sides concluded after the 2023 campaign, Miller indicates that BSN has “strong and sincere interest” in a one-year arrangement with the Twins. If the Twins aren’t able to come together with BSN on a deal for 2024, Miller suggests that the club’s games would likely be distributed by MLB as the league did with the Padres and Diamondbacks in 2023.
- Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris spoke effusively about newly-signed right-hander Shelby Miller after he landed in Detroit on a one-year pact last week. According to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, Harris was particularly impressed by Miller’s performance with the Dodgers after coming off the injured list last summer. Miller’s final eleven appearances with the club saw him post 12 scoreless innings as he scattered seven hits and one walk while striking out 25.6% of batters faced. Per McCosky, Harris went on to suggest that Miller’s role has yet to be determined. The righty could compete for a spot at “the very back” of the Tigers’ bullpen alongside the likes of Alex Lange and Andrew Chafin or could be used in a multi-inning role. Miller recorded more than three outs in eleven of his thirty-six appearances with the Dodgers last year.