5 Best Potential First Base Targets For Pittsburgh Pirates
5 Potential Fixes For Pittsburgh Pirates' First Base Situation
The Pittsburgh Pirates had a ton of momentum following their outstanding, upstart 2013 season. Somehow, a whole lot of that momentum has been erased due to an extremely inactive offseason. The Pirates didn’t have many needs to address as they entered the offseason, but the needs they had were very important.
First base is the biggest remaining need, and to this point, the Pirates haven’t shown much obvious aggression in acquiring an upgrade. They have essentially sat back and watched as several potential first base replacements have either signed with a new team or have been traded to a new team. Enough is enough; the Pirates can’t wait any longer. There aren’t many good options left – the Pirates need to strike now.
The Pirates’ first base situation in 2013 was horrible. Manager Clint Hurdle elected to go with a platoon at first base, with Gaby Sanchez hitting left-handed pitching and Garrett Jones hitting right-handed hurlers. Sanchez certainly did his part, hitting for a .333/.448/.539 triple-slash line with a .987 OPS in 126 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. Against southpaws, Sanchez walked (18 times) more than he struck out (17 times) last season.
The other side of the platoon, a combination of Jones and eventually Justin Morneau, wasn’t quite as good. In fact, it was rather terrible. In 417 plate appearances in 2013 against right-handed pitching, Jones hit .241/.295/.435 with a .730 OPS. Once they realized that Jones wasn’t getting it done well enough, the Bucs decided to trade for Morneau – while they didn’t get quite what they expected to from the former MVP, he provided good at-bats and drew his fair share of walks. Even though the Pirates don’t have many options left to upgrade their first base situation, there are some decent players available. Keep reading to find out the best five options.
5. Mike Carp
If there is a way to have a sneaky, great season on the Boston Red Sox, it appears Mike Carp found a way to do it. He apparently hit .296/.362/.523 with a 139 wRC+ in just 243 plate appearances in 2013. He struck out a bit more than one would like (27.6 percent of his plate appearances), but the rest of his offensive numbers were outstanding.
4. Mitch Moreland
The Pirates should probably think of Mitch Moreland as a near-last option in their first base hunt, but unfortunately, his name has come up in rumors connected to the Pirates more often than any other first baseman this offseason. He is a below average first baseman both offensively and defensively. In 518 plate appearances in 2013, Moreland hit .232/.299/.437 with a 95 wRC+ with the Texas Rangers.
3. Adam Lind
Adam Lind would be a very good option for the Pirates, but the Toronto Blue Jays are asking for Neil Walker in return. Trading Walker for Lind would just replace one need, first base, with another need, second base. He would only have to hit right-handed pitching if he came to the Bucs, and in 2013, Lind hit .309/.385/.539 with a 151 wRC+. If the Blue Jays lower their asking price, Lind would be, by far, the best remaining option for the Bucs.
2. Justin Smoak
Now that the Seattle Mariners have added Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, it appears that Justin Smoak is very much available. The Pirates could decide to trade for him if they want to. Against right-handed pitching in 2013, Smoak hit .260/.361/.477 with a 134 wRC+. He strikes out too much, but he is still an above average hitter against right-handed pitching. It wouldn't be ideal, but the Pirates aren't in a position to be asking for perfection at this point.
1. Ike Davis
Ike Davis has fallen out of favor with the New York Mets. A once very promising prospect is now bordering on bust status. A change of scenery could do Davis some good. If the Pirates do acquire him, he will most likely only have to face right-handed pitching. Against right-handed pitchers over his career, he is a .256/.356/.471 hitter with a 127 wRC+. In 2013, he hit .222/.356/.371 with a 109 wRC+. It wouldn't be a great acquisition, but the power and on-base percentage certainly should interest the Bucs.