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Monday, December 5, 2022

Pirates Discussion: The Offseason Begins

For the Pittsburgh Pirates and 17 other MLB clubs, the planning for the 2023 season officially begins.

The Pirates at least decided to go off on a high note using a four run fourth to win their final game of the season and finish 62-100.

Johan Oviedo took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals for his second consecutive start against his former club. It didn’t start off well, with the first two hitters squaring up a couple fastballs for a quick 1-0 lead. After a strike out, Corey Dickerson line a ball to Diego Castillo at first that he couldn’t handle. That allowed the runner on second base to score and give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first.

In the Cardinals’ half of the third inning, they strung together a double, followed by a RBI single to make it 3-0. Oviedo would end up pitching four innings on 61 pitches with three runs against, two of them earned. He showed better control with 40 of his 61 pitches going for strikes, but he also gave up five hits while collecting only a single strike out.

Just before Oviedo left the game, the Pirates offense got a run of their own in the bottom of the third. Ji-Hwan Bae was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a ground out, and then came home on a Rodolfo Castro single.

The Pirates then added on in the fourth inning after Oviedo had left the game. Miguel “Wheels” Andújar lead off the inning with a triple to left-center, and would score on a wild pitch. Oneil Cruz walked on nine pitches, and came around to score on a Diego Castillo double to center to tie the game. After another walk and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, Bae hit a soft ground ball to 1B scoring Castillo to take a 4-3 lead. They pushed across one more run on a Kevin Newman RBI single making it 5-3.

Neither bullpen would allow a run the rest of the game for a final score of 5-3. Junior Fernandez, Manny Banuelos, Nick Mears, and Yohan Ramirez combined for five shutout innings allowing three hits to four strike outs.

Andújar finished on a high note going 3-for-4 in the game with a triple. Castillo capped off his season going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI.


I’d like to now take a moment to say thank you first and foremost to Tim Williams for allowing me the opportunity to ramble on this site that I’ve come to really appreciate and be a part of.

I want to say thank you to the readers and commenters for coming back on a daily basis to join in on the conversation with your thoughts and opinions. For welcoming me to this stage that is a completely new venture for me.

It’s not easy coming back day in and day out when you know from the onset that Buctober baseball isn’t in the cards (Though, technically it IS October).

But again, I really do appreciate everyone and the community we’ve built. I don’t remember the exact date, but it’s right around a decade since I first stumbled upon Pirates Prospects. I can’t say that I was initially as dedicated to the game of baseball as I have become through this site.

So, here’s to hopefully a strong off-season for the Pirates that gives us some hope and optimism for 2023.

+ posts

Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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Tim Williams

Thank you, Jeff, for all of the updates this season! I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to read them each morning before anyone else.

Thank you to everyone in the comments for providing an amazing extra layer to the site! Any time I’m scrolling through, there are informed discussion happening.

It’s really a challenge writing for this audience on a daily basis. The comments represent a small percentage of that audience, but a highly informed audience. The difficult thing is writing for the silent majority, who are here because this site is informing them.

BNP was already adding information in the comments on a regular basis before he took over this feature. The way he has evolved it since then has been cool to follow.

This has been a difficult season to follow at the MLB level. It’s hard to avoid frustrations when watching a 100-loss team again. This has been a more civil place than you’d expect in the face of that frustration. I would like to thank Jeff the most for leading those civil discussions all year.


Nobody likes to lose, but, I am hardly distraught. We learned a lot about what we have in house. Some kids seemed to mature and be solid pieces of the team including Keller (I know, not a kid) Crowe, Bednar, Suwinski, Cruz, Delay (as a back up) and possibly Marcano, Castro, Castillo and Mitchell. I have pretty high hopes for Mitchell based on his AAA performance and overall decent numbers in MiLB. While everyone screams about a lack of spending, they did step up with some $ in 22. Yoshi, Perez and Quintana. I’m not one that thinks they need to spend on a SP. They’ve proven an ability to find great talent at a lesser cost (Q & Anderson) I’ll trust they can do it again and maybe even find 2 in 1 year. Nobody was crazy about those signings at the time. If I were to spend “big”, it would be on 1B to find someone to man that for a few years. Seems we always struggle there.


Not fair. Using data and logic. BTW, bet the ranch that BC got a spending commitment when he took this job.


I’ve been saying that since the beginning. I can just picture Cherrington TELLING Nutting in the interview (not the other way around) that this was going to a total tear down and rebuild and Nutting better be ready to open the checkbook when the time came. If not, “Hey Bob, thanks for your time, now go out and get another small market mediocrity!”


Tim, please help me regain my access to premium content.
charleskulik ckulik3202@atlanticbb.net


Always enjoyed your comments before and since you started the daily discussions. Enjoy these as well. Keep up the great work.

Wilbur Miller

Just checked the Phi/ Cards game. Wtf? Not that I care about the Cards, but Q deserved a W. How’d they do that without Crowe or De Jong?

b mcferren

dummies think you can throw a closer for more than one inning


On many occasions, I’ve read pieces on this site that disparaged past Pirate development efforts. It’s a baseball topic I admit hadn’t crossed my mind. I would have said all teams teach the same game, so development was more a matter of assessing talent in the first place. Since then, I’ve come to believe development is indeed very important if not more important. This is best illustrated by the success former Pirates, particularly pitchers, enjoy when they move-on to other organizations.
The 1B problem is an illustration of development failure. It seems the Pirates are of the opinion that playing 1B is easy. Of course, that’s not true. Why then, do the Pirates continually teach players 1B just before or at the major league level? Since they seem to love position diversity why not begin to teach players with 1B physical attributes to play the position much earlier in their minor league careers. Having witnessed the play of the Bradenton Marauders for more than ten years, it’s always seemed to me that the first baseman was a player the Pirates thought had little chance of reaching the majors. What if Josh Bell had learned 1B in A ball rather than at the last minute? How much better would he have been, if comfortable in the field … just sayin’


2022 media guide?


2022 media??


First base needs dealt with this offseason. If the pirates can find a good mlb first baseman for next year I believe they will compete to win the NL central.

My choice is rizzo. I think he would be perfect in every way for this young pirates team.
2 years 35 million would be ideal, but it would probably take a 3 year deal to get it done.

I’m a big believer that Cruz needs moved off of SS asap and I wonder if there is any chance he could play first base? It’s probably just a dream but it could fix a lot if he were somehow able to make a smooth transition to first base.

The Gunner

If Cruz gets moved off SS, I would rather see him in the OF. The kid is very athletic, has great speed and an above average arm. I think you are wasting these things if you play him at 1B.


The season may be over but I am sure the content will continue unabated. Thanks to Tim and his staff as well as the site users who I read and interact with. I will try this suggestion again, why not add to the site a chat room where members can suggest topics that all can comment on? My first suggestion would be should Shelton continue to manage the team and if so why?

Wilbur Miller

One possibly positive item from Stumpf: Kranick is the only pitcher on an offseason throwing program. “Everyone else should be ready for spring training.” Logically that would include Cederlind.

b mcferren

he also said they plan to tank again in 2023

which makes sense because of Shelton’s contract and a boatload of rookies arriving in July

Wilbur Miller


Wilbur Miller

The Reds fired their hitting coach and five other coaches. I thought there was a rule that, if you lose 100 games, the coaching staff are all guaranteed to come back the next year.


My rookie season with the site, and ready for season 2 to start asap. Thank you for the fantastic content here!

Wilbur Miller

If he can harass the Hoppers into doing webcasts, I’ll pay for his sub.


Who do i got to bother for that one? Lol


You guys do a great job that’s why I subscribe


I wish the Pirates had the talent that this site has.

Well done,(I speak for the silent majority).

The Cobra

Thanks Jeff.

Tim has a really nice set of writers currently…hope all stay and continue to grow!

b mcferren

talk about a bullseye

3rd to worst team in the league (but definitely not the worst team in the league per requirement by the marketing department) but still with the same odds to get the first pick in the draft, and more importantly: the biggest draft budget

Shelty: terrific job of executing “operation shitty” to perfection — couldn’t have been done by a worse manager

Last edited 1 month ago by b mcferren
b mcferren

hope they don’t steal Kendall away from us

Wilbur Miller

Other than the excitement of getting baseball back, spring training is usually a bit of a letdown. Most jobs aren’t really up for grabs, the roster is mostly set going in, etc.

Next year . . . I dunno. Could be truly interesting if BC doesn’t ruin it all with another VanMeter/Marisnick/Knapp-type spree.

Is it spring yet?


Wilbur, we all know that another no hit, no glove utility infielder is coming from another organization. The only question is if they will sign him in December or claim him off waivers the day before the season. Cherington and Huntingdon before him just can’t resist adding guys who play all four infield positions below average defensively. I was optimistic at the end of March that Cherington turned the corner, but then VanMeter was claimed when they broke camp. This occured even though they already had 10 middle infielders on the 40 man roster.

(Nothing personal against VanMeter, he is so much better at baseball that I ever was. We just didn’t need a player of his caliber on this roster.)


With Cruz, Newman, Castro, Castillo (and maybe Bae starts season in Pgh), I can’t see getting another MI. I could see a 4th and/or 5th OF. If Reynolds is moved off CF, he’s going to LF. I can’t see him RF. And not too sure I can see Andujar in RF, so I’m expecting more 1b/DH from him. Mitchell sucks out there. Leaving basically just Suwinski, with Bae as an option if he starts the season in Pgh. And then whatever IF Shelty puts out there. I don’t see how Mitchell gets a regular position unless he can play 1b and platoon with Andujar. And if BC goes out and gets an actual experienced 1b, then Andujar basically becomes a full time DH and Mitchell becomes expendable.


Apparently, some of the kids were telling reporters after the game that they hope MGMT brings in some veteran leadership.

At the very top of that list has to be 1b. They can not go into next season with trying to get by with internal options. The problem in going with internal options is that none of them are real 1b.

I’ve never seen a more dire situation at 1b than I did this season. I doubt there’s been another MLB team with a more pathetic 1b in the past decade or more than what we witnessed this season. This is way worse than the Catcher Apocalypse. The amount of negative WAR they collectively amassed is astronomical.


I’m building the Trey Mancini bandwagon if you want to help.

Last edited 1 month ago by ArkyWags
Wilbur Miller

It seems like a good idea as long as they don’t get all caught up in it. There’s some reason to think Mancini could be on the verge of collapse. They need to go into it with the idea that, if it works out, great, and if he’s toast, we’ll move on, that’s fine. But the Pirates have a history of letting sentiment outweigh baseball.


Mancini for the vet leadership, at least average glove, likely fan favorite, and probably slightly above average offense. Sign me up


I’d kick the tires on Brandon Belt if SF doesn’t re-sign him. He’s been in the $17-$18M/year range last few seasons, but coming off a shortened 2022 due to a knee injury. He’s 34, but put up solid numbers in 20-21. In 22 he was 30 points off his BABIP average and his HR/FB ratio was way down, although other #s were roughly same as previous two years. He wants to keep playing, question is how much of a cut in salary will he take to keep doing so? Belt has played for championship teams. Mancini has not, yet. And why would the Astros even put him on the post-season roster given how horrible he’s been for them?




Anyone who believes first base is an easy position to play probably has never played there.The Pirates need an actual first baseman and not just someone thrown over there and given a different glove.


Spot on as to 1b. The 1b needs to hit but also be good defensively. With Cruz at ss (and even if eventually replaced by Peguero) you have talent that will tend to have an above average number of bad throws. A good 1b could save Cruz a dozen errors a year.

Remember how Mark Grace used to save Shawon Dunston’s 95 mph wild missles for the Cubs.

b mcferren

there are no decent first base options available

best option right now is to recruit Neil Walker out of the booth to play first base for us


I think you you are both right and amusing, though I doubt that Neil could hit a big league FB any more. Any competent IF can learn to play first, but most don’t hit enough.

b mcferren

I have no doubt that he’d be up for it after listening to him say game after game that “its now a young man’s game” and talk about “less opportunities for older player”

I do think signing him to come back as a 36 year old first baseman is the absolute best chance we have at a productive player at the position in 2023

Unless you move Endy there of course…


and…..his back or one of his hamstrings would go again in about as many games as it took Roberto Perez to go on the season ending IL He would be willing but he would know that his body would fail him.


J. Abrea on a 2yr/$22M (??) deal would be my ideal target. I would love to see his bat in the middle of the lineup.


Abreu would be highest target, more than Mancini. I think there’s no way Chicago let’s him walk though. Although I thought the same with them and Rodon though.

I’m not the best at contracts, but Abreu just put up a 4 win season at age 35 and made nearly 20 million. You’d likely need to offer what he signed last time (3 years 50 mil).

Mancini has a mutual option so maybe that gets picked up. Still, they could go with someone like Carpenter or any other slugging bat. There are some options.


Either way, they need to be aggressive when FA begins. Don’t d*ck around, get the guy(s) you want, and send a message to your current players and fan base. If they sit back, this could be a long off-season and tell us everything we need to know about where the FO sees this team for the upcoming season.


I think his age will scare off a lot of suitors. I’m not the best at contracts either, just estimating about two-thirds of his last two year’s worth of salary. Maybe you do a one-year with option year 🤷🏻‍♂️

b mcferren

there’s no way Abreu would be affordable but I envision to influence he would have on fellow cuban Malcolm Nunez. Ive thought the same about Chapman and Oviedo


Let me respectfully disagree. No team could outbid the Bucs for Abreu or Mancini.

b mcferren

same can be said about the past 30 years of Pirates offseason activity


What the Nats used:


Agree that josh bell isnt so exciting to me. Rizzo is the dream, but mancini wouldnt be a bad choice imo

Wilbur Miller

I really wonder how much Q impacted the starters. As big a joke as 1B was, I think bringing him back would be as big.

I’ll add that that was real leadership. He walked the walk, turned a struggling career around right in front of them. A .140 hitter who’s clinging to ML fringe benefits for one more year isn’t a leader just because he’s older.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wilbur Miller

He’s available.


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