Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/14/14

At the end of 2012, Clint Hurdle identified a few players as having spots for 2013 locked down. Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones, Mike McKenry, and Clint Barmes all made the list. If we assume that James McDonald, AJ Burnett, and Jeff Karstens all have rotation spots on lock, too, that leaves us with the following needs: corner outfield/first base (Jones will play either right field or first base, depending on how everything shakes down), a catcher to pair with McKenry, starting pitching, and a shortstop because seriously, Clint Barmes doesn't hack it even if Hurdle says he does.  Possible Options
 The Pirates do have some internal options here. Left field will almost certainly be filled by Starling Marte, who shot up the prospect charts over the last two years and made a debut with the Pirates last year that was both tantalizing and frustrating. He's certainly got all of the raw tools to cover a ton of space in the outfield next to McCutchen and to bat in the top part of a big league batting order, though, and left field is his job to lose. The same is probably true of Travis Snider in right, though his performance with the Pirates after being acquired at the trade deadline was spotty and marred by a hamstring injury. The Pirates certainly could try to bring in some competition for him. They have some internal options for the starting rotation as well, though those options are less attractive. Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, and Kyle McPherson have all had decent results in the upper minors, though none of them are elite prospects and they all project to be back-end rotation or bullpen guys at best. Gerrit Cole is an elite prospect and he'll be a Pirate at some point in 2013, though probably not until sometime close to the beginning of the summer. That means that if the Pirates are going to aggressively pursue anything this winter, I'd have to guess it'll be starting pitching. If they do so on the free agent market, it'll probably a signing similar to their Erik Bedard signing last year (though hopefully, for the Pirates, with better results). That probably means a pitcher with talent that's struggled lately. Francisco Liriano seems like someone that the Pirates would be interested in, and given Neal Huntington's former association with the Indians, taking a flier on Roberto Hernandez (nee Fausto Carmona) seems like something the Pirates would do. They did show some interest in Edwin Jackson last year and reportedly offered him about $30 million over three years; they'll probably make a similar offer to him again this year and probably be spurned again.  Trade Options I think it's a pretty safe bet that Joel Hanrahan will be shipped elsewhere this winter. He's due somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million through arbitration and between Jason Grilli (who will probably cost about half that in arbitration), Bryan Morris, Duke Welker, and Victor Black, the Pirates have quite a few talented right-handed relief options that can miss bats. Since Hanrahan is a proven closer, he'll certain garner some decent interest this winter, even though he'll be a free agent. That makes him one of the Pirates' more valuable trade chips this winter. If I were the Pirates, I'd also be thinking about shopping Garrett Jones, who's coming off of a career-high 27 homer season but who's probably a long shot to replicate that kind of production in any sort of reliable fashion. I don't really see any indications the team is interested in doing this, though, especially since Clint Hurdle already named Jones one of his guys that's in place for next year. Trade Targets
 This is a little bit tougher to figure out for now, since I'm guessing the Pirates will be looking to make trades similar to the AJ Burnett trade of last winter. In short, the formula there is, "Find a veteran who may have more left in the tank than performance indicates, take them away from the team that has enough money that they can sign a replacement and not have to find out." These players don't really reveal themselves until free agency shakes out for large-market clubs, though, so it's hard to say who will be available for that sort of move in February. As it relates to Hanrahan, Huntington will probably gun for a return similar to what Boston was handing out for relievers last winter (they dealt Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick for Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey). That means a young player that has some serious potential and is close to being big league ready. Most likely, the Pirates will be eyeing up a shortstop, corner player, or starting pitcher. That's probably a tall order to get for just one year of a closer in return, but it's probably where the Pirates will start from, at least.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jim Harbaugh to Michigan is done deal

Amari Cooper not a fan of New Orleans, thinks it smells

WATCH: Jennifer Lawrence does Louisville chant at game

WATCH: Did Bret Bielema do ‘Horns Down’ gesture?

Devils unveil unique coaching by committee situation

Report: 49ers expect Jim Harbaugh to take Michigan job

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Johnny Manziel fined for being late to treatment

Duke Johnson's mother says son will enter NFL Draft

Starlin Castro questioned following nightclub shooting

Report: Jeff Driskel thinking about transfer to Duke

Browns suspend Josh Gordon for final game of season

Report: Rex Ryan has already cleaned out his office

WATCH: Nebraska safety pukes on field, keeps playing

WATCH: Nyquist holds puck for 28 seconds, scores OT winner

WATCH: Kevin Garnett blows in David West's ear

WATCH: Frank Beamer busts a move after bowl win

Bears could clean house after season

Nebraska chancellor booed by Huskers players?

WATCH: Rory McIlroy trolled by 'Sweet Caroline' song

Auburn, Wisconsin players literally ate tons of food

Did Kobe Bryant respond to heckler with the rings count?

Doug Fister bought Starbucks for his Twitter followers

DeMarco Murray dumped over cheating accusations?

Video: Rudy Gay tosses half-court alley-oop to McLemore

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Amari Cooper not a fan of New Orleans

Harbaugh to Mich. is done deal

WATCH: Jennifer Lawrence supports Louisville with chant

Did Bielema do ‘Horns Down’?

WATCH: Beamer busts a move

Bears could clean house after season

Nebraska chancellor booed by players?

Johnny Manziel fined by Browns

Castro questioned after shooting

Rory McIlroy trolled with 'Sweet Caroline'

Browns suspend Josh Gordon

Kobe gives heckler the rings count?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.