NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has often said his small-market club will never "win the offseason." But the Bucs might steal some headlines this week.
The Winter Meetings are set to officially begin Monday morning, starting four days of non-stop wheeling and dealing, signing and speculation. The industry will watch closely to see what the Pirates do with Andrew McCutchen; if he's traded, the Bucs will move to shore up their roster, particularly their rotation.
• McCutchen still a Pirate as Meetings loom
MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.
"We will continue to do everything in our power to help this organization continue to move forward and continue to be a team that competes for a playoff spot in September and plays playoff baseball in October as consistently and frequently as we can," Huntington said. "We will continue to have that be our goal every single day. Nothing changes. We cannot control what people say, do or write."
• Pitching at forefront of Pirates' Meetings agenda
With all 30 front offices and an assembly of player agents under one roof, this week is typically the most active time of the offseason for signings and trades. But there will be plenty more to digest before the end of the Rule 5 Draft sends executives and agents scurrying for the airport.
• Bucs' slow offseason may speed up at Meetings
Manager Clint Hurdle will discuss the status of McCutchen and the Pirates' rotation when he meets with the media. The coverage of that briefing, as well as Huntington's daily thoughts and the latest news and rumors, will be featured on pirates.com.
Things can happen quickly at the Winter Meetings. Last year, the Bucs shipped off Neil Walker to the Mets in exchange for left-hander Jonathon Niese. This week, all eyes will be on Huntington and McCutchen. Will Pittsburgh deal the face of the franchise?
"We're going to show up every day to put a team on the field that this fan base and community will be proud of," Huntington said. "That's our end goal. That's the way we believe we will best please our fans and reward our fans for their passion and their support, is to continue to do everything in our power to put a winning team on the field."
How will the Pirates address their young rotation? They may seek two pitchers -- a young, controllable starter as well as an innings-eating veteran. To that end, they're scheduled to meet with a handful of agents, including the representative for left-hander Derek Holland.
The Bucs never shy away from their willingness to dangle any player approaching free agency. That doesn't guarantee they'll make a flurry of moves simply for the sake of doing so, but it makes them worth watching closely throughout the week.