Pittsburgh Pirates Could Move Neil Walker
The Pittsburgh Pirates have explored efforts with platoons this season. Platooning out Garrett Jones and Travis Snider against left-handed pitching, the Pirates are taking advantage of all splits and schematic edges that they can get. They have been playing Neil Walker, a switch hitter, every day at shortstop. However, they have a number of replacement options that could offer similar production. Jordy Mercer – on the major league team – and Josh Harrison – on the minor league team – could both play second base and not hurt the club much. The Pirates could explore moving Walker on the open market, as there are many teams that would like to acquire the young, switch-hitting second baseman.
The best option is the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics are using a number of platoons this season, and the switch-hitting Walker would alleviate the need to carry two guys for that one position. They have a number of corner infield/outfield types that could intrigue the Pirates. The best option would be Grant Green.
Green is the fifth-rated prospect in the Athletics organization, according to Baseball Prospectus. He would be an excellent haul in return for Walker. The Athletics would have to lose someone off of their 40-man roster if they acquired Walker, but if they traded Green they would not. This trade would benefit both teams, as the Pirates lack high upside first base prospects. They have a number of middle infield types, especially with highly-touted prospect Alen Hanson playing well in high-A ball. Trades are rare this early in the season, but these two contenders could make a mutually beneficial deal.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.