The Pirates have problems, but no problem bigger than the gaping hole at third base. David Freese is a great bench piece and locker room guy, but he’s in the twilight of his career. What the pirates need is power hitting. They ranked 29th in the league in home runs and slugging percentage this last season. That needs to change if they want to contend. Lucky for the Pirates there’s a lot of power hitting third basemen available this off-season. That’s if they want to spend some money.
The Pipe Dream
- Mike Moustakas .272/.521/.835 38 HR 85 RBIs
Moustakas is the dream for the Pirates. He’s a consistent power hitter with a knack for getting on base. His veteran presence on the team would help a lot especially if he took Josh Bell under his wing. The problem the Pirates would run into with this signing is money. Moustakas looks to be the top third baseman in free-agency this year. The Pirates would have to bid against a lot of teams with a lot more money than them to get Moustakas. Hopefully they open the wallet.
- Mark Reynolds .267/.487/.839 30 HR 97 RBIs
Reynolds is on the wrong side of thirty but had a resurgence this past season. Now it may have been because of Coors field, but Reynolds passed the eye test. He’s another veteran that could anchor the team, but he wouldn’t someone the Pirates should give a long deal too. It looks like Reynolds wants one though. After the season he had, he’s going to be looking to cash in and secure his future. I don’t think the Pirates would offer him more than a two year deal.
- Todd Frazier .213/.428/.772 27 HR 76 RBIs
Frazier’s average might look bad, but his OBP and walks were higher than they’ve ever been in his career. Frazier continued to be a slugger this year and would be another good veteran presence. If he gets his average to at least .240, I think he’d be a good investment for the Pirates. It’s a risk, but it’s a risk that could put the Pirates back into the post-season.
- Neil Walker .265/.439/.803 14 HR 49 RBIs
Now bear with me. The Pittsburgh kid could come back to Pittsburgh. It’d be easy to move Harrison to third or play Walker there. Both are capable. There are two problems:
1. The Niese trade (I’m sorry)
2. Walker’s injury history
If the two sides can put those two things behind them, a reunion seems imminent. He was always at his best in Pittsburgh. I think he could do it again.
- Jung Ho Kang
Well, this one’s a big if. Kang is playing in the winter league, but this all depends on his visa and the MLB’s punishment (if there is any) for him. The organization seems to want him on the team, and if he gets back to 2016 form, he’d fill the hole perfectly. Here’s to hoping Kang has learned from his mistakes and comes back to give the Pirates the boost in power they need.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes
Hayes is still developing, but if the Pirates don’t sign a third baseman, they might not have a choice. The 2015 first round pick might not have shown power in the minors, but he has the potential to be part of the Pirates’ infield of the futurel. Hayes has the defensive ability to be on a major league roster and a knack for stealing bases. If he starts showing power in the minors, he might be up sooner than later.