Pirates GM Cherington wants to add more starting pitching

Dec 20, 2022, 11:20 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 1:22 pm
FILE -Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges throws out Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco at first b...

FILE -Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges throws out Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco at first base during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cleveland. The Pittsburgh Pirates and veteran catcher Austin Hedges agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 according to a person familiar with the negotiations.(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

              FILE - Chicago White Sox pitcher Vince Velasquez (23) delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 3, 2022, in San Francisco. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez to a one-year contract on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in an attempt to give their young starting rotation a veteran presence.(AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)
            
              FILE -Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges throws out Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco at first base during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cleveland. The Pittsburgh Pirates and veteran catcher Austin Hedges agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 according to a person familiar with the negotiations.(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — It has been a busy offseason so far, at least by the small-market standards of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and general manager Ben Cherington would like to continue to bolster the roster of a team that has gone 142-242 over the past three seasons.

“Don’t feel like it’s a ‘have to,’ but certainly (we) want to do more,” Cherington said Wednesday during a video conference with reporters.

The Pirates added some help at first base and designated hitter by signing Carlos Santana as a free agent and trading with the Tampa Bay Rays for Ji-Man Choi. They signed defensive specialist Austin Hedges as the starting catcher. Free agent acquisition and right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez is expected to begin next season in the starting rotation.

Plus, first baseman/outfielder Connor Joe was acquired from the Colorado Rockies to provide depth, and the Pirates also have an agreement with lefty reliever Jarlin Garcia, pending the completion of a successful physical examination.

Cherington said his top priority now is acquiring another starting pitcher to add to a staff whose 4.66 ERA was 26th in the major leagues last season when the Pirates finished 62-100.

“That market’s been strong, but we continue to stay engaged with some free agents and trade opportunities,” Cherington said. “Both of those can be hard to speculate, in terms of how likely it is to line up. We’d also like to add another position player if we can. Another potential option for the lineup.”

The Pirates think Hedges will help their pitchers — and be a good mentor to catching prospects Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis, who are likely to make their major league debuts sometime during the 2023 season.

“The defensive skill, the way that’s measured nowadays has been pretty well reported,” Cherington said. “We certainly believe that’s a legitimate skill that he has, to impact the game defensively with receiving, throwing, blocking … Beyond that, there are some aspects of the defensive game that we still just aren’t very good at measuring yet.

“Game-calling. Relationship-building. Influence. And, certainly, that would extend to impact potentially on pitchers, but also other catchers.”

Hedges’ one-year, $5-million contract was finalized Tuesday. The 30-year-old hit just .163 last season in helping Cleveland win the AL Central and hasn’t had a batting average above .178 in the last four seasons.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots in front of Houston Rockets forward ...
Associated Press

Gilgeous-Alexander scores 42 as Thunder blow out Rockets

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 42 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder blow out the Houston Rockets 153-121 on Saturday night. Oklahoma City set a Thunder record for points in a game, surpassing the 150 scored in a win over the Boston Celtics last month. Gilgeous-Alexander shot 7 for 23 in a […]
20 hours ago
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, left, disputes a penalty called against him during the first half ...
Associated Press

Zach LaVine scores 36 as Bulls beat Trail Blazers 129-121

CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 36 points, DeMar DeRozan had 27 and the Chicago Bulls topped Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers 129-121 on Saturday night. Nikola Vucevic added 23 points and 11 rebounds as Chicago won for the third time in four games, erasing a 17-point deficit in the second half. Ayo […]
20 hours ago
Los Angeles Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard (2), Nicolas Batum (33) and Marcus Morris Sr. (8) guard...
Associated Press

Leonard has 35 points, Clippers outlast Knicks 134-128 in OT

NEW YORK (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points, Paul George added 30 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the New York Knicks 134-128 in overtime Saturday night. After the Clippers lost a 17-point fourth quarter lead, Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer tied it at 115. The Clippers scored the first four points […]
20 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers, middle, is held back after participating in a scrum wit...
Associated Press

Bamba, Rivers, Suggs all suspended after Magic-Wolves dustup

NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has suspended Orlando’s Mo Bamba for four games and Minnesota’s Austin Rivers for three games for their roles in an on-court altercation on Friday night. Jalen Suggs of the Magic will miss one game, the league said, for escalating the incident. The league announced the suspensions Saturday. Bamba will […]
20 hours ago
Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) drives on Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) in t...
Associated Press

Ayton has 31 points and 16 rebounds, Suns beat Pistons

DETROIT (AP) — Deandre Ayton had 31 points and 16 rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns beat the Detroit Pistons 116-100 on Saturday night. The surging Suns have won eight of 10 games, including a victory at Boston on Friday night, and have help on the way with Devin Booker nearing his return. The three-time […]
20 hours ago
Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas, left, drives to the basket against Washington Wizards Kendrick Nunn...
Associated Press

Thomas helps Nets rally from 23 down to beat Wizards 125-123

NEW YORK (AP) — Cam Thomas scored a career-high 44 points off the bench and the short-handed Brooklyn Nets rallied from a 23-point deficit to stun the Washington Wizards 125-123 on Saturday night. Edmond Sumner also set a personal best with 29 points and Nic Claxton had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets, […]
20 hours ago
Pirates GM Cherington wants to add more starting pitching