How the heck does a team that won 98 games in 2015, and will retain nearly its entire core of position players and pitchers get better in the offseason? Led by a consistent, steady lineup, a great rotation, and a young bullpen, the Pittsburgh Pirates are positioned to continue contending in 2016. The feeling that the once floundering Pirates franchise was just happy to be in the postseason are gone. Pittsburgh fully expects to contend every year, and first round exits every year are getting frustrated.
Those first round exits may continue being a hazard for the Pirates, as breaking through and unseating the St. Louis Cardinals or keeping pace ahead of the Chicago Cubs is a monumental task. The Pirates have taken a conservative approach to free agency, but after three years of winning with good attendance, the front office may need to take a more aggressive approach to the offseason.
Here is what should be on the wish list once Pirates management gets down to brass tacks over the winter.