It was a great ride in Pittsburgh this summer but the team couldn't find a way to put away the St. Louis Cardinals after taking a 2-1 lead in the NLDS. Now the team has plenty of key free agents that will make for an interesting offseason.
The Pirates were going strong, and they were aggressive in making moves to improve the club. Right fielder Marlon Byrd was arguably the best acquisition made by any team during the season, and first baseman Justin Morneau gave Andrew McCutchen some protection. Now Byrd and Morneau will hit the market.
Right-hander A.J. Burnett has been a big part of turning the Pirates around. He wasn't offered a qualifying offer, and it's unclear if he will even play next season.
Tom Singer of MLB.com reported that the Pirates are hoping to re-sign Burnett and shortstop Clint Barmes.
With so many key pieces—especially on offense—hitting the market, the Pirates need to be aggressive this offseason. The St. Louis Cardinals made the World Series, and the Cincinnati Reds will bring back the majority of its roster next season. If Pittsburgh doesn't make the necessary moves to keep up, it could be in for a disappointing 2014 season.
Offseasons are filled with plenty of rumors and deals. It can be tough for fans to keep up with, so be sure to check back here every day to see what the latest rumblings are involving the Pirates.