5 Players That Pittsburgh Pirates Could Sever Ties With This Offseason
5 Players That May Not Be With Pittsburgh Pirates In 2014
For the first time in a very long time, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter an offseason with the mindset of going from good team to legitimate World Series contender. Thanks to increased attendance, a new TV deal and making the playoffs, the Pirates are going to have a lot of important decisions to make in the upcoming offseason. The Bucs will have more money to work with than usual this offseason, so expect the team to make at least a few upgrades to the roster. The upgrades could come via free agency or possibly even a trade.
Just because the Pirates have more money and more of a willingness to acquire high-end talent, that doesn’t mean the Bucs will have a better offseason than they had last year. They acquired Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimental and a few other minor league players from the Boston Red Sox for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt. Francisco Liriano was signed to a cheap deal and pitched like an ace all season. Russell Martin was given a two-year deal and played gold glove defense as a catcher, giving the Pirates a legitimate veteran presence with postseason experience.
Like every offseason, the Pirates are going to try to acquire talent, but they are also going to lose some players. Luckily, the Bucs don’t have a lot of impact players becoming free agents, but that doesn’t mean they won’t lose anyone important. Pirates GM Neal Huntington will surely be on the phones looking for deals all offseason, and don’t be surprised if he makes a blockbuster trade that involves trading an established big-leaguer away.
5. Justin Morneau
Justin Morneau was acquired late in the season from the Minnesota Twins for Alex Presley and Duke Welker. He didn't hit for any power with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he had a very good on-base percentage and gave above-average defense at first base. He hit for a .260/.370/.312 slash line in 92 plate appearances with the Bucs. The Pirates will likely move on from him, however, as they will be looking for an upgrade.
4. Garrett Jones
Garrett Jones will be due a large amount of money in arbitration, possibly around $6 million. Jones was below replacement level in 2013, so it would be foolish for the Pittsburgh Pirates to offer him arbitration.
3. A Jason Grilli Trade?
Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington traded closer Joel Hanrahan last offseason -- could he trade his closer again this offseason? Jason Grilli had a great first half in 2013, but faded a bit after his injury in the second half. He is in his upper-30s and will likely see a decline in performance in 2014. Trading Grilli makes too much sense for Huntington to not at least consider it.
2. Marlon Byrd
After trading for Marlon Byrd at the waiver trade deadline in late August, the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely be forced to move on and find a replacement in the outfield for Byrd. Coming off of his best season ever with a .291/.336/.511 slash line in 579 plate appearances between the New York Mets and the Bucs, Byrd will command a nice offer in free agency. The bidding may get a bit too steep for the Pirates.
1. A.J. Burnett
Nobody wants to see A.J. Burnett retire, but it seems like it might happen. Burnett told 93.7 the Fan on Monday that he would either retire or return to the Pittsburgh Pirates for another season. Burnett is coming off of a season where he led National League starting pitchers in K/9 and ground ball percentage. He is still a very good pitcher, but he may decide to retire.