Neal Huntington created a nice 3-4 year window for Pirates

Neal Huntington created a nice 3-4 year window for Pirates

MLB

Neal Huntington created a nice 3-4 year window for Pirates

Much has been made about Neal Huntington’s trade deadline acquisitions of Chris Archer and Keone Kela in the fact that it not only gives the Pittsburgh Pirates a chance to compete the rest of this season, but the next couple as well.

That’s the biggest key as the Pirates window for success is now wide open for the next three years and likely longer.

It wasn’t just the deadline deals for Huntington, but the ones he made in the offseason as well.

The entire core of the team is now locked up for an extended period and that’s long been a goal of Huntington.

Beginning with the starting rotation, Archer, Jameson Taillon and Joe Musgrove are all under team control for the next 3-4 seasons.

Mitch Keller is likely to join that group next season, which will give the Bucs a solid four starters in place.

Ivan Nova has another year left on his deal, but there are plenty of bodies to fill the fifth spot in the rotation after that, including Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl and Nick Kingham, who are all locked up for years.

The future of the Pirates rotation looks very bright.

As does the bullpen, which now has Felipe Vazquez (2023), Kela (2020), Kyle Crick (2023) and Edgar Santana (2023) in check for a few years. They should look to bring Richard Rodriguez back and the bullpen will be a major strength of this team going forward.

Player Team Control through
Chris Archer 2021
Jameson Taillon 2022
Joe Musgrove 2022
Trevor Williams 2022
Chad Kuhl 2022
Felipe Vasquez 2023
Keone Kela 2020
Kyle Crick 2023
Edgar Santana 2023
Francisco Cervelli 2019
Elias Diaz 2022
Josh Bell 2022
Colin Moran 2023
Corey Dickerson 2019
Starling Marte 2021
Gregory Polanco 2023

The same goes for the offense as the strength of the team, the outfield as they have both Starling Marte (2021) and Gregory Polanco (2023) under team control for a while.

It would be nice to see Corey Dickerson get an extension as his deal will expire at the end of next season, but if not, it won’t be that big of  deal as several talented outfielders will be ready by them, including Jason Martin and Bryan Reynolds, who were acquired in the Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen trades.

Huntington can also deal from a strength if he wants to acquire a veteran outfielder for a couple of years.

Behind the dish, Francisco Cervelli will expire after next season and as much as he is a fan favorite, it may be a good time for Huntington to look to move him in the offseason as Elias Diaz is this team’s catcher going forward. Diaz is under team control through 2022.

The corner guys in Josh Bell and Colin Moran are both under team control through 2022 and 2023 respectively.

The only real question mark for the Pirates comes up the middle where Jordy Mercer becomes a free agent at seasons end and Josh Harrison will almost certainly be bought out.

That leaves a pair of rookies in Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer, who are both ready to make the jump to the majors.

It’s almost not fair to ask a pair of rookies to jump in and be productive right off the bat, but that may have to be the case, although I can see Huntington addressing the middle infield in the offseason.

What Huntington did with his offseason trades and his deadline deals was create a very nice 3-4 year window where this Pirates team can be very competitive.

We will see if it happens, but the blueprint is surely in place.

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