Pirates ready to reload for another run at October

Pirates ready to reload for another run at October

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's been exactly two months since the Pirates played their last game, a disappointing end to an otherwise remarkable 2015 season. In that time, they've cut ties with their first baseman and lost key members of their rotation, bullpen and bench. Now, it might be time for the Pirates to start adding pieces to their '16 puzzle.

Welcome to the 2015 Winter Meetings at the Opryland Hotel, the temporary home of executives from all 30 teams as well as agents looking to find long-term homes for their clients. These Meetings typically overflow with whispers and rumors, occasionally leading to signings and trades that can define a club's offseason.

The Pirates have several clearly defined needs -- another starting pitcher, bullpen help and a first baseman. They also have a few players rumored to be on the trading block, namely closer Mark Melancon and second baseman Neil Walker.

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Will they fill those holes in the Music City? Will they part ways with two more prominent parts of their recent success, as they did Wednesday night by non-tendering Pedro Alvarez? Or will they remain quiet, instead setting the stage for future moves?

We'll find out between Monday morning, when the Meetings officially begin, and early Thursday, when the Rule 5 Draft ends. And we'll have it covered -- all the news, rumors and reactions -- on Pirates.com.

Plans could come into focus at Winter Meetings

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, the man in the middle of all the activity, will address the media each day at the Opryland Hotel. You'll also hear from manager Clint Hurdle, who's scheduled to hold his annual question-and-answer session with reporters at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Fans can catch live streaming videos of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 11 a.m. ET and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.

Huntington has said the Pirates want to add to their roster, as they did a year ago at this time. The players they acquired in those moves -- from Francisco Cervelli to Francisco Liriano -- helped lead the Bucs to a 98-win campaign and their third straight postseason appearance.

What will this offseason entail? How will the Pirates make all the pieces fit in 2016? Stay tuned.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.