By Jason Shetler
The Pirates this offseason have been able to address most of their needs. The only need that has yet to be addressed is a left-handed reliever to replace Antonio Bastardo, who recently signed on with the New York Mets. The internal options right now for the Pirates are Kyle Lobstein and Robert Zarate. Lobstein’s numbers haven’t been good while Zarate has no big league experience to this point. Looking at some of the southpaw relievers on the free agent market, one name that would be intriguing is Sean Marshall.
Back in 2006, Sean Marshall joined the Chicago Cubs as a starter. The 6’7 left-hander became more of a swingman for them in 2008 and 2009. In December of 2011, the Cubs traded Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds in a deal involving Travis Wood. Shoulder problems arose for Marshall in 2013, and wound up having surgery in 2014. He ended up missing all of last season recovering from the surgery.
Marshall has pitched exclusively as a reliever since 2010. His numbers during that span have been solid, as he’s posted a 2.73 ERA along with a very impressive ERA+ of 152, which is certainly All-Star level. He’s been even more dominant going by his 2.27 Fielding Independent Pitching. Marshall has also done a terrific job of getting strikeouts and groundouts with a 10.2 K/9 and a 53% groundball rate. The Pirates clearly need another experienced left-handed arm in the bullpen other than Tony Watson. Marshall should be healthy now, and is someone the Pirates should take a flier on.