The Pittsburgh Pirates currently are not a complete team.  

The team lacks starting pitching, as two of its top starters from last year (Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez) are both currently on the free-agent market seeking deals.

General manager Neal Huntington has made an effort to bolster the rotation so far this offseason, adding former Pirate A.J. Burnett on a one-year deal.  

The Pirates and other teams in search for a quality starting pitcher received good news Tuesday evening when Mike Axisa of CBS Sports reported that right-handed starting pitcher Kris Medlen is now a free agent, as the Atlanta Braves did not tender his contract for next season.

A five-year veteran, Medlen transitioned to his role as a permanent starting pitcher in 2013 after spending his first four major league seasons serving primarily as a relief pitcher.  

Medlen performed very well for the Braves that year, going 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in 32 games (starting in 31 of them).  

Furthermore, Medlen is a proven dominant relief pitcher, as he went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 138.0 innings pitched and finished 20th in the National League Most Valuable Player voting in 2012.

Unfortunately for Medlen, he missed the entire 2014 season due to an elbow injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery.  

Would the Pirates consider adding Medlen to the staff as a relief pitcher?  That is possible, but considering the fact that the Pirates need starting pitching more than anything right now, they would likely have him audition for a starting job in spring training.    

At only 29 years old, Medlen still has plenty of time to bounce back from his injury.  

The Pirates don’t have to look any further than within their own organization to find an example of a guy who has bounced back brilliantly from the operation in his career.  

Volquez underwent the procedure in 2009 when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds, and he has made at least 31 starts in the last three seasons.  

Although the Pirates starting rotation currently consists of all right-handed pitchers except for Jeff Locke, offering Medlen a deal makes a lot of sense.

First of all, he likely will not come at too steep of a cost, as he has not pitched in a game in over a year now.  Most importantly, however, he could bounce back from the injury and return to form, which would have a huge impact on the Pirates’ chances of heading back to the postseason for the third straight year.

Imagine what the Pirates would be capable of achieving in 2015 with a healthy Medlen and Gerrit Cole at the top of that rotation.  Add a seasoned veteran like Burnett along with lefty Locke and Vance Worley to the combination, and suddenly the Pirates rotation is rounded out from top to bottom.

Of course, the Pirates would be taking a gamble by signing him, but the rewards he can potentially offer are worth it.


Statistics courtesy of

Read more MLB news on