Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?
For the Pirates, the answer is no.
Over the course of the offseason the main focus has been on who the Pirates get to share 1B with Gaby Sanchez, whether A.J. Burnett will retire or the Right Field situation.
One area that hasn't received the attention of many is the need in the rotation. The need isn't for an Ace nor a top of the rotation arm. The need is for that innings eater. Looking at what the rotation looks like currently, there is only one potential 200 innings guy.
Gerrit Cole - Pitched 185 combined innings during the regular season in 2013. Usually extending a pitcher no more than 30 Innings Pitched per season is the safe bet. I would say Cole is in line for 200 IP this season. However, how will he respond in his sophomore season?
Francisco Liriano - Pitched 182 combined innings during the regular season in 2013. Liriano has never pitched 200 innings in a MLB season. I would look for similar IP this season, somewhere in the 185 IP range. Liriano is far from a sure bet to repeat his success from 2013.
Charlie Morton - Pitched 157 combined innings during the regular season in 2013 coming back from injury/surgery. I look for somewhere in the 175 IP range. Coming back from TJ surgery, I can't see the Piratestaking a chance with their new long term investment by running him out there for more than 20 additional inning over the 2013 season. They will play it safe.
Wandy Rodriguez - Pitched 66 combined innings in 2013. He will be coming back from an arthritic hampered season. The Pirates will be lucky to see 100 IP from him this season, if the arthritis doesn't flare up he could make 150 IP. What the Pirates get from Wandy is a complete gamble. This explains the Volquez insurance policy.
Jeff Locke - Pitched 166 innings during 2013, all inning were MLB innings. Locke seemed to have never fully recovered from his back issues during the All-Star break or he simply ran out of gas in the second half. I would expect a similar number of innings from him this season, around 170 IP.
Totaling the expected IP of the rotation, the Pirates are looking at 830 IP from their starters. The Pirates would average 5.1 starters innings pitched, that would be down from 5.7 in 2013 and dead last if compared to the rest of the NL rotations in 2013. Even at 880 IP, they would only average 5.4 starters innings pitched.
A 200 innings starter would go a long way to get the Pirates at least even at 5.7 starters IP with the starters numbers from 2013. Since this team is built on pitching, shifts and defense they need to address one last rotation enhancement. They need a 200 IP guy.
A.J. Burnett - He obviously is the first choice, but no news is not good news. The Pirates can't wait much longer for a answer. They need to make a move soon.
Bronson Arroyo - Arroyo has pitched a minimum of 199 innings every season since 2005. He has had a sub 4 ERA for four of the last five years. He had a 4.05 ERA in his time in Cincinnati, half of his starts in hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. He would definitely benefit getting out of hitter friendly environments like he has pitched in at GAB and Fenway Park in his career. As bonuses, he will likely be cheaper than A.J. annually and Charlie Morton would have someone to talk music with.
Of the other remaining free agent pitchers, you don't have that innings eater type that doesn't cost a draft pick. Even the ones costing a pick aren't innings eaters and aren't worth the pick.
Am I off the mark on this or should Arroyo be the number 1 priority right now?
Forum Link: http://www.pghsportsforum.com/forum/showthread.php/16657-Should-Old-Acquaintance-Be-Forgot?p=329508#post329508