By: Noah Wright
Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington hinted at potentially making a move to acquire a player. It’s almost completely needed right now. I mean just look at the list of key players currently on the injured list:
- Corey Dickerson (LF)
- Francisco Cervelli (C)
- Trevor Williams (SP)
- Jameson Taillon (SP)
- Keone Kela (set-up)
- Nick Burdi (set-up)
Then added on by the fact that they have gotten extremely inconsistent performances by Joe Musgrove and Jordan Lyles recently, the complete and unexpected drop in performance by Richard Rodriguez, and the weak outings put up by Nick Kingham and Steven Brault, it’s a recipe for disaster. They need to acquire some help right now, and here’s some names I think the Pirates should go after if Huntington actually decides to go shopping. I briefly mentioned some names in previous article(s), but I want to go more in depth with some names.
- Tanner Roark:
Roark is really what the Pirates need right now. A rental innings eater who isn’t pitching horrible. Through 62 and a third innings with the Reds, Roark has a 3.47 ERA, 3.29 FIP, and 1.396 WHIP. Roark has really limited home runs this season. He has given up just 4 long balls. Plus, he has seen an increase in K rate. Roark has a career high 9.4 K/9. He has done this all with the Reds, who play in GABP. Speaking that the Reds’ home park is one of the most hitter friendly parks in the MLB, and he has better away numbers than home numbers (home opponent OPS: .712, away opponent OPS: .693), Roark could really benefit from being moved to a very pitcher friendly park.
- Yusmeiro Petit:
Petit has had a solid 2019 so far. Although he has a 4.20 FIP, and 1.4 HR/9 he has an elite .810 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, 2.43 ERA, and induced soft contact 19.4% rate through 33 and a third innings. He also is carrying a very good 5.25 K/BB, despite having a 5.4 K/9. While Petit hasn’t started multiple games since the 2014 season, Petit is used to pitching multiple innings. Since 2015, he has had 78 multi-inning appearances in 240 games (including 3 starts). He could not only function as a 5 inning starter, but also serve as a back end of the pen option once players come back healthy. Petit also has a cheap $10 million option for the 2020 season as well.
- Robbie Ray:
One of the things the Pirates are missing from their rotation is a left handed pitcher. Robbie Ray could be what the Pirates need in the rotation. Right now through 62 and two thirds innings, Ray has a solid 3.59 ERA, 3.29 FIP, and 1.436 WHIP. Although he does struggle with walks, having a 5.0 BB/9 rate, Ray does prevent the long ball, and strike out a ton of batters. He has an 11.8 K/9 to go with a .7 HR/9. He induces ground balls at a solid 41.2%. The only question might be whether or not the Bucs have the prospects to acquire him, but Ray will enter his last season of arbitration after 2019.
- Jake Diekman:
Diekman was picked up by the Royals on a cheap one year deal plus option for a second season, and he could be a fairly sought after commodity this summer. Through 24 and a third innings, Diekman has a 3.33 ERA, 2.53 FIP, and 1.027 WHIP through 24 and a third innings. He has yet to give up a home runs, and has struck out a whopping 36 batters. Plus, Diekman has given up hard hit balls just 23.4% of the time this season as well. Although he is a lefty, Diekman has made both lefty and righty batters look silly. He has held both to an OPS below .600. Diekman can surely help stable the pen the Pirates currently need to add depth to.
- Tony Watson:
Watson was a top of the line set-up man in Pittsburgh back in 2012-2016. In 2017, he was sent over to the LA Dodgers in exchange for now top prospect Oneil Cruz. After the ‘17 season and a run to the World Series, the SF Giants inked Watson on a 2 year deal plus an option for 2020 in between the ‘17-’18 off season. Watson looked like the back-end of the pen stopper he was in his prime with the Pirates, and is showing the same kind of pitching ability in 2019. Through 21 innings, Watson has a 2.57 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and 1.090 WHIP. He has a great K/BB rate of 6.33 right now. His BB/9 is just 1.3, a career low. While his K/9 has dropped over a 1 strikeout from last season, he still is holding a K/9 which would be around his career average of 8.2 (8.1 to be exact). His option for 2020 is only $2.5 million, so it might not be too much to acquire Watson.