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MLB Hot Stove: How Much Have The Pirates Improved?

This Wall Street Journal article ranks the 30 Major League Baseball teams by the degree to which they improved (or regressed) this offseason, using WAR projections from Fangraphs. With the A.J. Burnett trade now in the books, the Pirates fare surprisingly well, coming in seventh.

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PIRATES (4.2) Key Acquisitions: SS Clint Barmes (2.2), SP A.J. Burnett (1.3) Key Loss: SP Paul Maholm (2.6) Outlook: Barmes and Casey McGehee should aid an offense that petered out as 2011 went on.

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The projections are just projections from fans, so they should be taken with a grain of salt -- I'm a big Paul Maholm fan, and 2.6 wins above replacement looks high even to me. But as a quick-and-dirty look at what happened, it's hard not to conclude that the Pirates fared pretty well. 4.2 additional wins is just a drop in the bucket for a team like the Pirates, of course, but it's hard to make enormous improvements simply through offseason maneuvering. The Angels get a bump of 13 wins thanks to the additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, but no other team gets more than 7.1 wins.

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Meanwhile, two of the Pirates' divisional foes, the Cardinals and Brewers, were among the four teams who went the furthest backward this offseason, thanks primarily to the departures of Pujols and Prince Fielder, respectively.

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Thanks to reader Gregory L.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.