This page will be updated throughout the offseason to reflect any Pirates transactions, as well as injury updates.
Dec. 15: OF Edward Olivares acquired from the Royals for Minor League OF Deivis Nadal
Nadal was at Single-A Bradenton at the time of the trade. The outfield mix is deep on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, but Olivares has a chance to break camp with the team. The 27-year-old has played all three outfield positions, though the vast majority of his reps have come at the corners.
Olivares had a 109 OPS+ over the past two seasons, and he hasn’t traded that uptick in production for strikeouts; he struck out only 100 times in 515 at-bats since the beginning of 2022. His addition means there will be a healthy competition for the corner outfielder and fourth outfielder spots.
Dec. 15: OF Billy McKinney acquired from Yankees for international bonus pool money
McKinney made his MLB debut with New York in 2018 and played for five other teams before returning to the Bronx in 2023, when he hit .227/.320/.406 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 48 games.
Dec. 5: SS Oneil Cruz (fractured left fibula) playing in instructional league games
Cruz hadn’t played in games since suffering his injury in the ninth game of last season, but he took the field for instructional league games in the Dominican Republic. Pirates officials came in and out to check his progress, and the games were videotaped.
“It was probably the highlight of every day that I’ve had over the last two weeks,” manager Derek Shelton said. “We have video of everything he does on the field, so just watching him take ground balls, watching him steal a base in a game, watching him have at-bats, that made me smile.”
Both Shelton and general manager Ben Cherington acknowledged Cruz’s absence had a “significant impact” on their season. Though they had capable players to fill in, no one could match Cruz’s upside, in part because the Pirates wanted to give Cruz every opportunity for a breakout season.
“We knew coming into the season what would need to happen in 2023 for us to maybe exceed expectations and be a much better team than people are saying we’re going to be,” Cherington said. “One of those things would’ve been Oneil, kind of, leveling up and have some sort of breakout. We just didn’t get the chance to see that happen.”
Dec. 5: LHP Marco Gonzales, cash considerations acquired from Atlanta for player to be named later
Pittsburgh added to an area of need by swinging a deal for the veteran left-hander in order to bolster its rotation. Gonzales, 31, had just been dealt to the Braves as part of the Jarred Kelenic trade on Dec. 3 and has a 65-49 record and a 4.14 ERA over nine Major League seasons. Read more >>
Dec. 5: RHP Johan Oviedo (right elbow) will need Tommy John surgery
The Pirates confirmed Oviedo’s offseason elbow injury, a huge blow to a rotation that was already short and now has little certainty beyond Mitch Keller.
“As the offseason went on, he had this lingering pain,” manager Derek Shelton said. “When you accumulate the number of innings he did as a starter, there’s going to be some downtime where you don’t feel great. Then that continued, and that’s when we decided that we’re going to have to get this looked at, and that’s when we found out what the situation was.”
The 25-year-old right-hander tossed 177 2/3 innings over 32 starts this past season, going 9-14 with a 4.31 ERA and a 4.49 FIP. He struck out 158 batters for an 8.0 K/9 ratio, while allowing 8.2 H/9.
Dec. 1: C Ali Sánchez signed to a one-year contract; RHP Roddery Muñoz claimed off waivers from the Nationals; RHP Thomas Hatch cleared outright waivers, released
Sánchez has only played seven games in the Majors across 2020-21, but the defensively sound catcher made big strides at the plate in ’23 at Triple-A Reno, where the 26-year-old produced a career-best .867 OPS and 11 homers. He ranked third among all Pacific Coast League catchers in caught stealing (22) and only made one error in 460 total chances at catcher.
Muñoz, a 23-year-old, had a 5.42 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 78 innings over 34 appearances (14 starts) across four Minor League teams last season, including Triple-A Rochester. Hatch was released so that he can pursue a professional opportunity in Japan.
Nov. 17: Pirates avoid arbitration with LHP Ryan Borucki, non-tender RHPs Hunter Stratton and Osvaldo Bido
The Pirates tendered contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players except for Stratton and Bido, potentially ending their tenure in the organization. The team also parted ways with righty Wil Crowe earlier this week, distancing Pittsburgh from three pitchers who combined to make 29 appearances for the club in 2023.
The Pirates struck a deal with Borucki on a contract for the 2024 season that is worth $1.6 million, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The 29-year old southpaw emerged as a valuable bullpen option in his first year in Pittsburgh, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in 38 appearances.
Nov. 14: RHP Braxton Ashcraft and INF Tsung-Che Cheng added to the 40-man roster
Both players were eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, so they needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected. Ashcraft, the Pirates’ No. 12 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has a high-velocity fastball that can hit 97 mph that he complements with a slider, a curveball and a changeup. He returned from Tommy John surgery in 2023 to a relatively small in-game workload, but his upside made him at worst a potential bullpen addition for another club if selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
Cheng, the Bucs’ No. 18 prospect, is a speedy infielder who reached Double-A for the first time in 2023. Though he posted a .251/.304/.352 line with the Curve in 66 games, Cheng’s skillset lends itself to being a potentially good bench or pinch-running asset for a rebuilding team looking to add controllable talent in the Rule 5 Draft.
SS Oneil Cruz (fractured left fibula)
Cruz has started playing in instructional league games at the Pirates’ Dominican academy. Manager Derek Shelton said on Dec. 4 that video of the games has been encouraging.
Cruz missed the majority of the 2023 season after fracturing his left fibula in a collision with White Sox catcher Seby Zavala on April 10. He had a setback in his rehab in August due to left foot soreness, but he was back on track as of the onset of the offseason. (Last updated: Dec. 5)
RHP Johan Oviedo (Tommy John surgery)
The Pirates confirmed Oviedo’s offseason right elbow injury after the right-hander experienced lingering discomfort after the season, which prompted further examination. A typical recovery timetable would rule out Oviedo until 2025. (Last updated: Dec. 5)
RHP JT Brubaker (Tommy John surgery)
Brubaker was scheduled to see Dr. Keith Meister, the surgeon on record, on Sept. 19. This was to be his final checkup before he begins a plyometric throwing program, a precursor to a formal throwing program.
Brubaker is no longer wearing a post-operation brace on his right arm after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 12. His projected full return to Major League competition is 14-16 months following the surgery. (Last updated: Sept. 13)
RHP Michael Burrows (UCL surgery)
No. 9 `prospect Burrows underwent season-ending UCL reconstruction surgery on April 26. He is expected to return to action in 14 to 16 months. (Last updated: April 27)
INF Dariel Lopez (right knee dislocation)
Lopez suffered a dislocated right knee while participating in a club-issued offseason conditioning program and missed the entire 2023 season. (Last updated: March 16)
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