#RoansyDay Confirms the Pirates are on the Right Track With The Rebuild


Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras delivers during the first inning of his first Major League start in a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

I was very confused by the Facebook comments I received on my most recent article about what the Pirates need to do this offseason to keep the rebuild on a successful track.  Most people were hooting and hollering about how we need to “sign pitching.”  And excuse my French, but that is the most ass backward view I have heard so far about the state of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Window of Success

The Pirates are still two or three years away from their next window of success. Whether you want to speculate if this window will be more or less successful than the last one, 2023ish is when most of the Pirates top prospects should be breaking into the major leagues.  Therefore, signing a pitcher for next year is counterintuitive.  Any ball club, whether they are in a small market or big market, sign pitchers to the rotation when they believe they have a chance to compete that following season.  The Pirates are not there yet.

Also, signing anyone that is not a part of your future or could be used as a trade piece is counterintuitive for two reasons.  The first being, it is a waste of money when your expectations of success the following season are low.  When I spoke about signing Yoshi Tsutsugo in my previous article, it was solely because I see him as a low-risk trade piece in July of 2022.  It was not because I think the Pirates have a shot at the playoffs next season.  The second reason you should not sign pitching at this point in the Pirates rebuild is it takes away innings from guys that could be part of your future success. 

Roansy Day

Roansy Contreras’ start last night is a great testament to that second point.  He was a player received by the Pirates in the Jameson Taillon trade.  Contreras made his MLB debut on Wednesday evening and, at 21 years old, was the youngest pitcher to start for the Pirates in 17 years.  Contreras is very much a part of the future plans of this organization. 

And Contreras lived up to the hype.  He only was given three innings of work, but he gave up no runs and had four strikeouts.  Also, his off-speed stuff looked really effective, while also hitting 97 on the gun consistently with his fastball.  Several off-speed pitches induced very bad swings and misses from the Chicago Cub hitters.  Plus he worked his way out of trouble in the first inning with composure we haven’t seen from a prospect in quite some time. 

Contreras among others is why you do not sign a starter this offseason.  Get these young guys as much experience as possible in what is still expected to be a rebuilding season in 2022.  In fact, to this point, the Pirates did the exact opposite last offseason of what it seems some Facebook commenters are clamoring for.  They took their veterans that were not going to be a part of the future, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon and Joe Musgrove, and received younger pitching talent. 

This strategy has already started to pay off for Miguel Yajure, one of the other pieces of the Taillon trade.  Yajure has not been lights out on the mound, but he will go into the 2022 season with three games started for the Pirates, including tonight, and crucial major league experience.  Also, David Bednar, who was acquired by the Pirates in the Joe Musgrove trade, will have real big-league closer experience going into next season.

Furthermore, starting pitcher Bryse Wilson, could be a veteran presence by 2023 since he started his 23rd career game this season in his eight start with the Pirates.  And he is only 23 years old. Wilson was received in the trade that sent reliever, Richard Rodriguez, to the Atlanta Braves.

Plus, the Pirates still need to figure out what they truly have in Mitch Keller and JT Brubaker.  For all of these reasons, I ask the Pirates NOT to sign pitching this offseason.

Concluding Thoughts

The rebuild blueprint for this season and next season is simple.  Find out what you have from the guys you acquired through trades and the draft that already exist in your system.  Do not stifle a young prospect’s playing time for an old vet who won’t be a member of your future success.  And then, when the time comes, you can pick up that one great free agent starting pitcher that can put your rotation over the top.  I vehemently decline the notion the Pirates should sign any pitching this offseason and Roansy Contreras’ start last night makes me more confident in that stance.