After emerging from my grading cocoon late yesterday afternoon, I was going to sit down and write up a post about everything that transpired from the Pirates' perspective on Tuesday of this year's winter meetings. The thing is, not much has happened yet.
On Wednesday morning, we stand pretty much in the same place that we have all off-season: the Pirates need a first baseman and they're interested in James Loney or low-end trade targets with some upside like Logan Morrison or Adam Lind. They could use but probably don't need a middle infielder. They need some more starting pitching and no one has any idea what AJ Burnett's up to. Something will probably happen this week, but it's possible that some bigger pieces need to move before the smaller ones fall into place.
The one big piece that moved yesterday was Mark Trumbo, who went from the Angels to the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade with the White Sox yesterday. I suppose Trumbo was an aspirational target for the Pirates in some Pirate fans' minds, but Trumbo is essentially Pedro Alvarez on the other side of the diamond and Skaggs is an awfully high price to pay for such a one-dimensional player. Trumbo's never topped 3.0 WAR (Baseball-Reference version) and the Pirates can get similar production for a much lower price, I'm guessing. Really, it makes you consider what Alvarez would be worth on the trade market at this point, especially if you have a hunch that Alvarez isn't going to be much better than he's been the last two years with the Pirates.
One thing we did learn yesterday is that there's been a ton of interest in Justin Wilson and that the Pirates would likely be willing to trade Wilson. On one hand, I'd tell you that the willingness to sell high on a reliever is exactly the sort of thing that I think the Pirates should be doing. On the other, I thought that having someone as talented as Wilson in the multi-inning relief role last year was really useful for the Pirates. I wouldve been expecting them to shop Tony Watson. Either way, it's logical to think that the Pirates have enough bullpen arms that they can exploit them to their benefit in the trade market.
I suppose at this point what I would say is this: the free agent market is always a dangerous place for the Pirates, unless they've honed in on someone that's relatively undervalued by the general baseball population the way that Russell Martin was last year. That's likely why they've targeted James Loney; he plays an offensive position and a large amount of his value is wrapped up in defense, which could keep his price down some. The Pirates' lack of activity thus far this winter is frustrating, but that's because the off-season is always frustrating for Pirate fans. There's only so much the Pirates can ever do over the winter, and it rarely includes a big signing or trading for a name like Mark Trumbo.
The Pirates are going to do something in the next couple of weeks, but it'll be in the same vein as what they do every winter; add value that might not be immediately obvious to support the core of players the Pirates already have in place.