Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Picimg_mlb_feb_22_2bc2

Every year, MLB Trade Rumors releases their top 50 free agents, along with predictions on which player will sign with which team.  The predictions are what they are: one person’s guess on how the off-season will play out.  They’re far from perfect, but they do provide a nice topic for discussion.  This year’s list has been released, and the predictions by Tim Dierkes suggest a busy off-season for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The first player that is linked to the Pirates is Carlos Pena.  They note that Pena would be a good fit on a one year deal if they can’t re-sign Derrek Lee.  If you read the site at all this summer, you’d know that I was pulling for the Pirates to trade for Pena, before it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be traded.  I like Pena, and feel he would be a good fit for the Pirates and PNC Park.  I’d pick Lee over Pena, but either player would be a solid anchor for the lineup.  MLBTR rated Pena as the #16 free agent.  Lee wasn’t ranked in their top 50.

The next move was Ramon Hernandez.  Hernandez will likely cost a second round pick, and MLBTR noted that Huntington might balk at giving up a second round pick to make the deal.  The Pirates landed Stetson Allie in the second round in 2010, and Josh Bell in 2011, with both players being rated top 10-15 prospects before the draft.  Giving up a second round pick might be a high cost for Hernandez, although it might be worth it on a multi-year deal.  There’s also the strong chance that the Pirates get two compensation picks down the road if Hernandez remains a Type A free agent.  Hernandez ranked 31st in the rankings.

The final prediction was Jeff Francis.  MLBTR mentioned that he is one of many starters who can add depth to the rotation at a reasonable cost.  In my look at the free agent market, I noted that Francis had a 4.23 xFIP over the last three years, compared to a 4.29 xFIP from Paul Maholm.  His 4.82 ERA from 2011 wasn’t attractive, but his 4.29 xFIP suggests he was a better pitcher than his numbers showed.  I’d probably take Maholm over Francis, mostly due to injury concerns over the last few years, although you could make the argument that Francis is a similar pitcher.

The current 40-man roster/payroll projection has the Pirates around $28 M.  That leaves a lot of room for upgrades, with the Pirates needing a catcher, first baseman, shortstop, and a starting pitcher.  It’s very unlikely that MLBTR goes 100% on these predictions, but the approach wouldn’t be a bad one.  Additions like Pena and Hernandez would upgrade the lineup, and while Francis wouldn’t be an ace, he would be a candidate for a rebound year, based on his secondary numbers from the previous two seasons.  If I had my choice, I’d go with Chris Capuano over Francis.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

How much will Rousey and Zingano make for their fight?

Browns agree to three-year deal with Josh McCown

Peterson releases statement, no mention of the Vikings

Bulls general manager expects Derrick Rose back in 4-6 weeks

Ray Allen reportedly will not sign with Cavaliers if he returns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Shane Vereen squashes rumor he wants $5 million per season

Jon Gruden on Meyer: 'Greatest coaching job of all time'

Vince Young to work out at NFL Veteran Combine

Report: Mike Wallace unwilling to restructure contract

Report: Colts targeting Brandon Marshall

Rakeem Christmas leads Syracuse in exercise of futility

WATCH: Knicks' Alexey Shved tosses wild pass into stands

Ten players ready to make the leap in 2015

WATCH: Reggie Bush says he won't quit football

PHOTO: ECHL team will wear Dr. Seuss jerseys

Report: Baron Davis in talks to join a contending team

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

Pirates issue statement about ISIS executioner in team hat

WATCH: Dress debate threatens to derail Brooklyn Nets’ season

FIFA gave Fox the 2026 World Cup to avoid a lawsuit

WATCH: Charles Barkley rips analytics... again

Dark horse World Series contenders in 2015

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to step up

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

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.