Pirates rumors: Bucs sorting through lower-tier pitching, according to report

Chris Trotman

The latest rumors connect the Pirates to a variety of pitchers who shouldn't start the season in a big-league rotation.

The Pirates are reportedly hunting for pitching at this year's Winter Meetings in Nashville. This article suggests they're doing so primarily in an effort to fill a hole in the rotation left by the departure of Jeff Karstens. If that's the case, and these are the names they're pursuing, it's a problem.

The non-tender deadline was Friday, which put 40 more free agents on the market. Of those, the Pirates have shown interest in five pitchers: lefties Manny Parra, John Lannan and Tom Gorzelanny, and righties Jair Jurrjens and Mike Pelfrey.

"If our five best starters are all right-handed, we’re OK with that," Huntington said. "In a perfect world, you’d love some balance. But it’s all about getting the five guys you feel best about, and then six, seven and eight."

As I mentioned at Bucs Dugout, none of these guys should start the year anywhere near the big-league rotation. Gorzelanny and Parra are the best of the bunch, but they pitched last year as relievers. Lannan spent most of last year in AAA. Jurrjens was horrible last season -- his velocity was way down, and he couldn't strike anyone out. Pelfrey is coming off Tommy John surgery and isn't a great rotation option even when healthy.

If the Pirates would like to sign these guys to minor-league deals, fine. But as replacements for Karstens, forget it. And the Pirates do need a real replacement for Karstens.

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