PITTSBURGH -- Because the organization has already been aggressive in the free-agent market, the Pirates will head to next week's Winter Meetings with a narrowly focused list of needs.Completed are the tasks of finding a new starting catcher as well as a shortstop to replace Ronny Cedeno. Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes, respectively, now occupy those roles. As a result, the pursuit of a first baseman and the search for potential upgrades to the rotation can take full precedent. Front-office members, team employees, agents and media will descend upon Dallas' Hilton Anatole Hotel from Dec. 5-8 for the annual Winter Meetings. While the elite free agents -- a list headlined by Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson -- will dominate the headlines that emerge next week, the Pirates have plenty to accomplish, even if under the radar. The club's top priority is finding a first baseman, as the Pirates' only current internal options are Garrett Jones and Matt Hague. There would be significant risk going into 2012 with either as the team's everyday option. Jones has never hit well against left-handed pitching. Hague, on the other hand, has yet to make his Major League debut. "Is there any upgrade available? That's what we have to explore," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We do have some internal options, so it's not like we are desperate and have to overpay a free agent or overpay in a trade to fill it."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.