The Pittsburgh Pirates need a right-handed bat. They have a good offense, but with Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones in the lineup, they are badly susceptible to left-handed pitching.
Having missed the boat on Mike Napoli and apparently uninterested in pursuing Josh Willingham (who would be the best fit for them), the Pirates could be interested in Chicago Cubs left-fielder Alfonso Soriano.
The Cubs are listening to offers on Soriano, knowing that if they want to move him, they will likely have to eat a large portion of the $36 million still owed to him over the next two years. For the right price, the Pirates should have interest in Soriano, who may end up being a cheaper option than any of the other alternatives.
Soriano is no longer the middle-of-the-order bat he was when he signed with the Cubs, but he is still a productive player. He doesn’t walk much and isn’t a .300 hitter anymore, but he has what the Pirates need – power from the right side of the plate.
Soriano’s 23 home runs were his highest total since 2007, his first season in Chicago. He no longer steals bases, but the Pirates only need him to bring his power from the Windy City.
The question surrounding the Pirates interest would revolve around the price, both the amount on Soriano’s contract not covered by the Cubs and the prospects they’d want in return. He’s not worth giving up any significant prospects for, but if the price is similar to what I mentioned for Willingham (lesser pitching prospects Jeff Locke or Kyle McPherson, for example), it would be worth discussing. From a dollar standpoint, if the Cubs are willing to cover half of the $18 million per season owed to Soriano over the next two years, it would again be worth the Pirates consideration.
The Pirates desperately need a right-handed bat and are beginning to run out of options. Napoli is off the board, and it doesn’t look like they’re in the running for Nick Swisher. Willingham may or may not even be available, and after that, the free agent market doesn’t offer a ton of options.
Soriano may be one of the best options available for the Pirates, but only at the right price.