By Jason Shetler
The Pirates statistically this season have boasted one of the best rotations in baseball, thanks in large part to the emergence of Gerrit Cole, a career year from A.J. Burnett and the continued solid contributions of Francisco Liriano. Then there’s the 4th and 5th starters, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke. Morton started off well, but has struggled some lately. Locke has been the opposite, scuffling early on, but pitching better as of late. Given the rotation as a whole, do the Pirates need to add a starting pitcher?
Morton and Locke have been hurt by lack of commanding pitches, but when they’re right, both of them can be above average starters. Since both haven’t been pitching significantly bad to this point, there shouldn’t be a desperate need to acquire a starter before or at the trade deadline. In my opinion, the Pirates would be inclined to wait until after the deadline to trade for a starter, if Morton or Locke start to really struggle. Because of the excellent work provided by Cole, Burnett and Liriano, the Pirates don’t need to make a huge splash for a Cole Hamels or David Price. Going after someone like Dan Haren or Jeff Samardzija would be more realistic. Again, if the Pirates want to upgrade the back of the rotation, then it should be considered, but only if it’s absolutely necessary.