There is nothing that leads me to believe the Pittsburgh Pirates will be playoff contenders in the near future—at least nothing yet. This offseason will prove to be more crucial to the success of the Pirates than most individuals expect.
All of the rumors are hinting at possible "blockbuster" trades, at least as far as Pirates players are concerned. The moves made this winter and upcoming spring will undoubtedly determine the upcoming year's success.
The Pirates seem to have lost confidence in Ronny Paulino and now might be the time to trade him away. The Florida Marlins have expressed interest in Paulino, albeit they have not offered anything intriguing to this point. The Pirates will want to get at least something tangible in return, so do not expect this administration to just give him away.
It was only last year when the Pirates deemed Freddy Sanchez "untouchable" after coming off his batting title. Now Sanchez, who is in his 30s, is not someone the Pirates will refuse to trade. With the need for an infielder and possibly more pitching help, who would blame the Pirates for trying to trade an older, injury-prone Sanchez.
Nearly all of the trade talk surrounding the Pirates this offseason has revolved around Jack Wilson. With the Tigers apparently out of the running (signed Adam Everett), the remaining suitors include the Los Angeles Dodgers and the new-arrival Minnesota Twins. However, the Pirates will more than likely have to eat some of Wilson's salary or have him restructure his contract in order for a trade to occur.
Possible Free Agent Fits—SP Matt Clement, IF Mark Loretta, OF Kevin Mench, RP Derrick Turnbow, UT Nick Punto, OF Gabe Kapler
The Pirates will most likely take a player in the Rule V Draft Thursday as well.