The best story of the 2013 MLB season thus far has been the play of the Pittsburgh Pirates. We have seen flashes from the Pirates the past two seasons with strong play in the first half of those seasons, but they ultimately faded at the end. This year, not only will the Pirates more than likely end their run of consecutive seasons under .500, but they very well could have a postseason run in them.
The numbers don’t lie, this team is legit and the real deal. They have the best 1-2 punch in the back end of the bullpen with Mark Melancon setting up for Jason Grilli. With injuries to A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez the rotation has been carried by Jeff Locke (8-1, 2.12) and Francisco Liriano (8-3, 2.20). Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez are carrying the offense and all of this has led to the Pirates being tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in all of baseball.
If they could use help anywhere before the trade deadline it would be at first base. Many are saying they should look for a right fielder but I think with the combination of Garrett Jones, Travis Snider and Jose Tabata, you can play the hot hand and get enough production. The Pirates first baseman, Gaby Sanchez, is batting .235 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs.
This is a position they could use more production from, especially when Sanchez has routinely been hitting behind the All-Star McCutchen. One name to keep an eye on is Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins. Morneau is a former MVP and four-time All Star who has been battling concussions for almost three years, but is finally healthy and producing. The power isn’t there with six home runs, but he is hitting .275 and has driven in 50 runs.
The Twins are going nowhere and if the Pirates could find a way to not give up a lot in order to put Morneau in that lineup over Sanchez, look out. The Pirates look poised to make a run this year and an extra bat like Morneau would only increase the likelihood of that occurring.