On the brink of breaking their streak of not making the playoffs for over 20 years in 2013, the Pittsburgh Pirates identified offense as their area of need. They had stellar pitching in the rotation and out of the bullpen, but they needed to find a way to score more runs.
As things currently stand, manager Clint Hurdle will dispatch a platoon with Gaby Sanchez and a player unknown. They might still pursue a free agent for that spot, and with a relatively quiet off-season, they might add in other spots as well. Owner Bob Nutting spoke about the state of the team on Wednesday (quotes from the Pittsburgh Tribune):
Certainly nothing is off the table…But at the same time, we need to recognize that a first-round draft pick is a meaningful source of talent for a team like the Pirates. We want to be smart and cautious…
“…I think the additions were strong. I am very enthusiastic about the team we’ll put on the field. Are we in a strong position to compete and excel in 2014? Absolutely. I’m never satisfied, but I’m very enthusiastic about where we are.”
Owners and GMs pay lip service to these questions this time of year, usually going with the “we’re happy with where we are” company line. It is a little bit noteworthy, then, that Nutting was willing to admit that the team is still looking and still might sign a free agent (ah hem, Kendrys Morales) who would cost them a draft pick.
At some point this year the Pirates are likely to make another move to bolster their lineup. What remains to be seen, though, is if that move will come before the season starts.