Pittsburgh Pirates Predicted to Land Four Free Agents
MLBTradeRumors unveiled their annual predictions for the top 50 MLB free agents this winter, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were selected as the destination for four of them.
The trio of Tim Dierks, Anthony Franco, and Darragh McDonald made their selections for each free agent in the top 50, and the Pirates appeared four times on the list.
RHP Jack Flaherty (Rank: 22)
Darragh McDonald predicts that the Pirates will acquire 28-year-old right-hander Jack Flaherty, with a contract prediction of three years and $40 million. If this deal materializes, it would be the largest free agent signing in the history of the franchise.
Despite battling injuries and inconsistency in recent seasons, Flaherty showed great promise at the start of his career. Last season, he went 8-9 with a 4.99 ERA/4.36 FIP in 29 appearances/27 starts split between the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles. The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers are also potential landing spots for Flaherty.
LHP Sean Manaea (Rank: 35)
Tim Dierks believes that the Pirates will sign veteran left-hander Sean Manaea, who recently became a free agent after opting out of his deal with the San Francisco Giants. Manaea’s contract is predicted to be worth two years and $22 million.
Last season, Manaea recorded a 7-6 record with a 4.44 ERA/3.90 FIP in 117.2 innings pitched across 37 appearances for the Giants. The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers are also potential suitors for Manaea.
OF Jason Heyward (Rank: 42)
According to Darragh McDonald’s prediction, the Pirates may see outfielder Jason Heyward in Pittsburgh. Heyward is projected to sign a two-year deal worth $16 million.
Heyward experienced a resurgence last season while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting .269 with an .813 OPS, 23 doubles, and 15 home runs in 124 games. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals are also potential landing spots for Heyward.
1B Brandon Belt (Rank: 45)
Anthony Franco suggests that the Pirates address their need at first base by signing Brandon Belt, who is projected to earn $15 million on a one-year contract.
Belt spent last season with the Toronto Blue Jays after a 12-year tenure with the San Francisco Giants. The 35-year-old had an impressive season at the plate, recording an .858 OPS and hitting 19 home runs in 103 games. The Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox are also potential landing spots for Belt.
Pittsburgh was also mentioned as a potential fit for second baseman Amed Rosario and Whit Merrifeld, but none of the three predictions included the Pirates as the landing spot for either player.
For the full list of predictions, click here.