Pirates 2017: Offseason Additions and Subtractions
The Bucs started the season above .500 after the first two months of ball, however the month of June saw them slump to 9-19, putting them behind the eight-ball in the Wild Card race for the remainder of the season. They did get back to .500 mark again, until an 11-17 September closed their first playoff-less season in three years.
Predictions of a turbulent offseason for general manager Neal Huntington never came to pass, however, as the rumors a trade involving their perennial most valuable player, Andrew McCutchen, never came to pass. McCutchen, who recorded career lows in batting average (.256) and on base percentage (.336), will move from center to right field.
Arguably the biggest transaction this offseason for the Bucs was landing 29-year-old right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson for two years at $11 million. Hudson should add some depth in the bullpen as a late-inning reliever.
The re-signing of Iván Nova, who went 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA for the Bucs in 11 starts last season, bolsters a young starting rotation. Nova and the Bucs agreed to a three-year, $26 million contract that will return him back into the rotation with fellow right-handed pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.
However, the Bucs loss some bench talent on the offensive side, as outfielder Matt Joyce and super-utility man Sean Rodriguez departed ways.
Joyce was able to bounce back a season ago with the Pirates after a bad 2015, as he recorded a .242 BA and a .463 slugging percentage. Loosing Joyce to the Oakland Athletics might not hurt in the long run as the veteran had a pattern of struggling with left-handed pitchers in a lefty-heavy NL Central.
After two years with the Bucs, Rodriguez signed a two-year contract with the Atlanta Braves for $11.5 million. Rodriguez posted career best numbers this past season batting .270/.349/.510 and ultimately making his stock go up. The Bucs simply could not have matched the Braves offer on the table in order to keep him.
Veteran infielder Phil Gosselin, a career .283 hitter, will be expected to provide depth and insurance with the departure of Rodriguez and the unknown status of Korean third baseman Jung Ho Kang.
Other players who have parted ways with the Bucs include relief pitcher Neftali Feliz to the Milwaukee Brewers for one-year $5.35 million contract and left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke to the Miami Marlins for one-year and $3.025 million.
Other potential new bench additions include outfielders Eury Perez and Danny Ortiz, infielder Chris Bostick, first baseman Joey Terdoslavich and catcher Jackson Williams. New arms vying for depth spots include righty Pat Light and lefty Tyler Webb, as well as non-roster invitees Josh Lindblom, Dan Runzler, Edgar Santana and Jason Stoffel.