The Pirates are in dire need of a starting pitcher. In fact, the depth chart on the team website only lists four pitchers in the starting rotation. Those hurlers are A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald, and Jeff Locke. Burnett and Rodriguez are the leaders of the staff; two reliable veterans who should bring a lot to the table. McDonald, despite his tremendous first half, was demoted to the bullpen down the stretch; who knows which J-Mac we’ll see in 2013. Jeff Locke hasn’t done much to prove he’s worthy of a starting spot; he’s just 1-6 with a 5.82 ERA in 12 career MLB games.
It was reported Saturday night that Zack Greinke would be signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who apparently have an unlimited supply of cash. The deal is reportedly worth $147 million over six seasons, which would make him the highest-paid right-handed pitcher ever. Greinke, 29, entered the offseason as the most prized pitcher on the free agent market. Typically, players wait until the top free agent inks a deal before deciding where to sign, hence why there weren’t many big moves at the Winter Meetings.
With Greinke off the market, is it time for the dominoes to fall?
Here’s a look at some of the remaining free agent starters:
Anibal Sanchez – Out of price range; Dodgers interested in him, too.
Edwin Jackson – #EJaxToBucs failed last year; worthy of a second attempt?
Ryan Dempster – Mitch Williams suggested he’d be a fit for the Bucco rotation.
Kyle Lohse – Beyond the Box Score makes a case not to sign him.
Shaun Marcum – Seems like a decent add; drawing plenty of interest from other teams.
Francisco Liriano – His name has popped up multiple times as a fit for the Pirates.
Joe Saunders – Orioles still looking to re-sign the veteran southpaw.
Kevin Correia – Doubtful that Correia and/or the Bucs want a deal.
Carl Pavano – Wouldn’t be surprised to see NH take a flyer on him.
Jeff Karstens – Should not have been non-tendered by the Pirates; unlikely to return.
Mike Pelfrey – Non-tendered by Mets; appeared in just three games in 2012 (elbow).
Jair Jurrjens – Braves non-tendered him; 2011 All-Star said to have a dead arm.
Manny Parra – Non-tendered by Brewers; no thanks.
Tom Gorzelanny – Ex-Buc non-tendered by Nats; possible long-reliever/mop-up man.
John Lannan – Another Washington non-tender; no space for him in Nats rotation.
Who knows which route Neal Huntington will take. Keep in mind that a starting pitcher could be acquired via trade – closer Joel Hanrahan may be on the move (especially if Jason Grilli re-signs in Pittsburgh).
The starting rotation let the team down at the end of both 2011 and 2012, so it’s important to bolster the staff. There is a bit of help on the way (see: Cole, Gerrit) but that won’t be until mid-season at the earliest. The rotation is up in the air at the moment, but hopefully that changes in the coming weeks with some acquisitions.