It is hard to believe how far Brett Wallace has fallen during his brief MLB career. A former top prospect, Wallace has played for four teams already, and he is just 27. Based on the news today that the Houston Astros have released the first baseman, it appears he will be looking to jump on a fifth team for the 2014 season.
When thinking about which team makes sense to sign Wallace, the Pittsburgh Pirates are one team that come to mind. The Pirates have an obvious need at first base, and Wallace would appear to be an upgrade over anyone they currently have. Other than Gaby Sanchez, the rest of the Pirates’ first base options are complete question marks.
The Bucs plan to use a platoon at first base in 2014. Based on his track record, Sanchez will do his part against left-handed pitching, as he owns a career .300/.399/.496 triple-slash line and a 145 wRC+ in 566 plate appearances against southpaws. The only thing the Pirates need now is a left-handed hitting first baseman to handle the right-handed pitching.
Even though Wallace isn’t a great player, he would certainly provide more certainty than Andrew Lambo or Chris McGuiness at first base. Another thing that makes Wallace an intriguing option is that he is a free agent. The Pirates won’t have to give anything away to bring him in, unlike some of the slightly more attractive trade options like Adam Lind, Ike Davis and Mitch Moreland.
When used in a platoon, Wallace can be an effective player. In 869 career plate appearances against right-handed pitching, he owns a .249/.324/.413 line with a 102 wRC+. He was even better last season with a wRC+ of 117.
Bringing in Wallace certainly wouldn’t be the splash move that some Pirates fans had been hoping for, but he would give the team more options and more depth at the first base position. Now that he is a free agent, there is no reason for the Pirates to not at least give him a chance.