|Pirates Attendance vs. Payroll, 2007-2011|
|Pirates Current 25-man Roster Projection for 2012, MLB Depth Charts|
This means the Pirates management has a little bit of wiggle room to upgrade at least two positions, hopefully four. If the Buccos maintain a payroll above $50 million, then that leaves $18 million or more for the offseason. Let's see what's available and what they can do.
|Free Agent Targets: Catcher|
|Free Agent Targets: First Base|
|Free Agent Targets: Shortstop|
|Free Agent Targets: Starting Pitcher|
Doumit could be offered arbitration, though any of my other three suggestions would be a nice change. Sure, his offensive numbers may have been more impressive overall, but he has not been a full-time catcher since 2008 and his eyes creep me out. Any one of these options could cost somewhere around $3 to $8 million.
The Pirates acknowledged their lineup was power deficient in 2011, so it would be wise to select a big bat to play first base. Prince Fielder, Michael Cuddyer, and Pujols are all type A free agents, which should make the other three choices more available. The Chicago Cubs may not let Carlos Pena go if they are unable to sign a replacement for themselves. I would expect the Pirates to devote $6 to 9 million to first base.
Cedeno is gone. If the Pirates offer him arbitration, then it will probably cost them more than his original $3 million club option. If you disregard Jimmy Rollins and Reyes, then everyone but Nick Punto are type B free agents and should cost anywhere from $3 to $10 million.
The Buccos currently have a starting rotation full of right handers with the loss of Maholm, so picking up a lefty for next year is vital. Signing Wilson is extremely unlikely, but one can dream. Mark Buehrle or Edwin Jackson would be great additions to an otherwise inexperienced staff, but both are type B free agents and will probably be on the expensive side, possibly $8 to $15 million. Chris Capuano and Jeff Francis would be interesting options, hopefully on the more affordable side, maybe $4 to $8 million.
|Pirates 2012 Payroll Estimate|