Royals: Making the case for free agents, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are not filled with free agents worth acquiring. Mostly because, like the Kansas City Royals, they do not sign good free agents
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot in common with our Kansas City Royals. The Royals are essentially the Pirates of the American League. Both organizations are in cities with similarly sized populations. They are also both franchises, according to Statista, worth more than a billion dollars that routinely cry poverty in an attempt to hoodwink fanbases into believing their anemic payrolls are not a slap in the face.
Both franchises were also routinely terrible this century until they had a few very good seasons in the teens, and have now both fallen back to being awful again. They are our brothers in ineptitude if you will. Let us look at their dollar store free agents, according to Spotrac, and see if there are any that may be worth an offer for 2020.
Francisco Liriano was a very good starting pitcher in his prime. He even started 26 games for Detroit in 2018 as an almost league average pitcher. But he is now a middle reliever full-time. He pitched 70 innings this season and he did his job. Liriano was never a high-velocity pitcher so his fastball is not all that different. His slider is not as effective as it once was, but it still works well enough in small doses. This is the kind of veteran pitcher you add on a one-year deal as a finishing touch on a bullpen. He is not going to fix our pitching issues. But, if we signed some other arms, he is not a bad addition.
Royals fans will remember Melky Cabrera. In 2010, he was a once decent hitting young outfielder coming off a season where he struggled. The Royals would sign him as a cheap option on a prove-it type contract that actually worked out well. He had the best season of his career, to that point, in Kansas City. He would then get traded to the Giants where he would have an even better season…until he got busted for PEDs. And then hilarity ensued when he attempted to get his suspension lessened with some keystone cop plot involving creating a fake website. Good stuff. His career would never quite get back to those pre PED levels of production. He can still get on base and has some occasional pop. Honestly, his offensive numbers over the last few years are not all that different from our current 35-year-old left fielder. However, Alex Gordon is still an outfielder that can win Gold Gloves. Melky Cabrera, he of the worst jump of all MLB outfielders, is now the type of outfielder that you would rather play at catcher in a slow-pitch softball game.
JB Shuck is a 32-year-old minor-league outfielder that has never hit for an OPS over .700 in the big leagues. Hard pass.
Lonnie Chisenhall played very well for 82 games back in 2017. He was having the best season of his career until injuries derailed it. He has not really been healthy since. After making 95 plate appearances in 2018, he made zero big league plate appearances in 2019. He has shown some ability to get on base. But an injured 31-year-old that can get on base a little is not really the free agent the Royals should be signing. So, expect to see him starting in right field in Kauffman Stadium on Opening Day 2020.
LOL. I feel like we have seen this movie and it does not end well. Brandon Maurer once seemed to be on track to be the Padres closer. But that now seems like a hundred years ago. He has some good stuff. He gets strikeouts. But he has never really learned how to get guys out if they are not striking out. He dishes out hard-hit balls to batters like I give out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. As an extra bonus, he is also coming back from knee surgery. Yeah, no.
Rookie Davis is a 27-year-old pitcher that has thrown just over 34 big league innings in his career. In those 34 innings, he has given up 50 hits and carries a WHIP over 2. Unless we are bringing in guys just to make Glenn Sparkman and Eric Skoglund feel better about themselves we should probably let someone else take a flyer on this one.