MLBTR Releases 2014-15 Free Agent Predictions

Every year, MLB Trade Rumors releases free agent predictions at the start of the off-season. The predictions are in no way accurate, and shouldn’t be seen as anything more than entertainment. For example, last year they had A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd returning to Pittsburgh, along with Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Josh Johnson, and Tim Hudson as possibilities. Obviously none of those guys ended up playing for the Pirates.

The true value of the predictions come in the descriptions, where we can find out what positions the Pirates could be looking at, and what teams could be interested in certain players. For the Pirates, this means focusing on which teams could be contenders for Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, and Edinson Volquez, while also focusing on who else the Pirates are linked to. MLBTR released the 2014-15 predictions last night, allowing us to focus on what could be in store for those players as free agency is about to begin.

MLBTR has Martin going to the Cubs, while mentioning that the Dodgers could also get involved. The presence of those two big market teams could make it hard for the Pirates to re-sign Martin. If the price is only four years and $60 M, then that’s something the Pirates should spend. But if the Cubs or Dodgers push it beyond that price, it would be hard for the Pirates to match that price.

Francisco Liriano is projected to go to the Red Sox, with MLBTR saying he could be seeking a four-year deal. Tomorrow is the deadline to extend a qualifying offer. The Pirates will extend one to Russell Martin, although we don’t know if they will make the same offer to Liriano. I believe they should, simply because there’s no way he will accept the offer. And if he really is seeking a four-year deal, then he’s not going to settle for one year without testing the market, especially coming off two of the best years in his career.

Edinson Volquez is the final Pirates’ free agent on the list, and is projected to go to the Braves. Several other teams are mentioned as possibilities, not including the Pirates. MLBTR says he’s in line for a two or three-year deal. I think the Pirates should be involved if the price is in the $8-10 M range per year.

As for players the Pirates are connected to, they only had one free agent prediction, and that was Brandon McCarthy. He would be a good addition to the rotation. I didn’t mention him in any of my reclamation project articles because he’s not a reclamation project. He’s coming off a year where he posted a 4.05 ERA in 200 innings, although his 2.87 xFIP suggested he should have been much better. That secret might already be out, since he posted a 2.89 ERA and a 2.85 xFIP after joining the Yankees.

I’d be a bit surprised if the Pirates did end up with McCarthy, since they typically go after pitchers who are buy-low candidates. They have gone after Edwin Jackson and Jorge de la Rosa in the past on multi-year deals, but fell short. It wasn’t a bad thing that those deals didn’t work out, since those pitchers struggled in their long-term deals.

MLBTR also connected the Pirates to Ervin Santana and Jason Hammel, but in a “the Pirates are looking for pitching, so this makes sense” way. The interesting thing is the connection to Adam LaRoche. He’s now a free agent after the Washington Nationals declined a $15 M option. The Pirates are picking from a group of bad options at first base, with Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, and Pedro Alvarez coming off down seasons. LaRoche wouldn’t be a bad alternative, and might end up costing nearly the same amount as a platoon of Alvarez and Sanchez.

Analysis

  • Raising your children to be Pirate fans gives a great opportunity to teach tough life lessens of life is not always fair…. but we must persevere in the face of adversity … And even more so its a chance to teach them as children , the value and necessity in being a realist… An attribute that too many of our adult fan base seem to lack.

  • We have 3-5 very promising Staring Pitching prospects that can be ready and available anytime after June 1 , for obvious reasons. They make it worth the risk of giving a heavily incentive laden deal to any of the injury prone veteran starters. i.e , Brandon Morrow , Josh Johnson , Gavin Floyd… Or whoever they see fit , as our scouting and front office has proven they will do their due diligence as to best value available. Most of these type pitchers can be very effective for a 3 month stretch before the bite of the injury bug occurs. If by some chance they stay healthy and effective in addition to success of any combination of our prospects then we have a big time trade chip approaching the deadline. Just a fan spit balling here, maybe somethin will stick. We can trust our front office to make the correct assessments. As for catcher, i believe it is in the Buc’s best interest to make a genuine run at Russ Martin , even outside their comfort zone, and when that it caused to fail by market busting by the Cubs or Rangers , then Stewart will be a fine stopgap until Diaz is ready. Starting Catchers are rare commodities and its unlikely a trade would bare equal value to the cost in prospects.

  • I think if they can get anything, even a serviceable system player for Gaby , its worth it to drop the dead weight. How can he be beginning his decline? Dont you need to have ascended to a certain point to begin a decline? Pedro is worth experimanting with at least through the breath of his team control. And i think it would be a measurable risk to give up on Ike and have him return to .280 and/or 30+ hrs.

  • How about Morse as part of a platoon at first base?

    • lonleylibertarian
      November 2, 2014 6:44 pm

      Settling for 1-2 WAR potential is not going to get this team to the world series…

      35 and counting I think.

  • Morrow and/or McCarthy would be good signs – but I think McCarthy will be priced out of the Pirates market. I really don’t expect the Pirates to be able to re-sign Liriano, Martin, and Volquez – teams like Yanks, Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox can give all of them over market offers.

  • Pirates need to give Pedro the 1B job. If it’s a failure, try Lambo or make a mid-season trade. Please let Ike and Gaby go and get some cheaper RH to pair with Pedro.

    As for SP, plenty of options and different ways to go. If they can’t get Martin, then they better spend for a legit SP or 2 and maybe go Stewart/Sanchez competition at C (or trade for a M Montero type, although not sure if it’s worth it).

    • lonleylibertarian
      November 2, 2014 6:42 pm

      Lambo will probably be gone in the Rule 5 draft – the Pirates mismanaged him and will pay

      • Stargell_Stars
        November 3, 2014 7:36 am

        He’ll go somewhere and hit 35 HR.

      • Lambo is on the 40-man roster…so, he cannot be picked up in the Rule 5 draft. The only thing they will be paying for is his salary.

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