Once the Pittsburgh Pirates eventually promote top prospect Gregory Polanco to the major league level, all attention must then turn to filling the team’s biggest need.
That would be acquiring another quality starting pitcher.
It seems par for the course as of late that anytime the words trade and starting pitcher goes together, the names David Price and Jeff Samardzija are the first guys anyone thinks about, which is something Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looked at late last week as well.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, it may take that type of arm to get them over the hump this year, especially since staff ace Gerrit Cole just landed on the disabled list.
While the Pirates have shown the willingness to add payroll late in the season the past couple of years, adding a frontline starter would be a bold move, one the Bucs’ front office should be willing to make.
At the end of the day, after Polanco is called up, they have the necessary prospects and should have the ability to add to the payroll enough to make a big deal happen.
But it all comes down to exactly how much money that Pirates owner Bob Nutting would be willing to not only add for the rest of this season, but the next couple of years.
If history is any indication, I would expect the Pirates to seriously go after a starting pitcher in the next month or so, but not as frontline guy like Price or Samardzija.
Samardzija is likely off the table to begin with as I can’t see the Cubs trading inside the division unless the Pirates seriously overpay for his services.
Price is another story altogether, but is likely way out of the Pirates budget, even if they would be willing to part with a couple highly thought of prospects.
Some organizations have the go-big-or-go-home type of mindset, but that is simply not the Pirates’ way of doing business. There is no fault in that approach when the organization has had some success the past few years building from within.
However, the Pirates need a stopper. To make up the necessary ground and be a factor in the postseason race, they desperately need a top-of-the-rotation arm.
The need is there. Addressing it is a different story altogether.
The Pirates’ starters rank among last Major League Baseball’s 30 teams with a 4.40 ERA, their 13 wins are the fewest in baseball, and they’ve taxed the bullpen, throwing at least six innings in just 32 of 62 games.
This rotation needs help and they need it immediately or it may turn out to be too late.
Whether the Pirates make the playoffs or not this season all could come down to whether the organization is willing to get a legitimate arm. Adding another team’s fourth or fifth starter isn’t going to cut it.
We certainly will find out the Pirates’ intentions over the course of the next month or so, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on them making any major additions to the team you are looking at right now.