I’ve been spouting off about how the Pirates should make a trade for an legitimate player with a track record who can help right now. Not the same Travis Snider type acquisition I am terrified of them making.
I’m not talking about platoon players either. If you want more incomplete baseball players with poor approaches at the plate that’s great. We can stockpile all the Garret Jones and Travis Snider’s in the league.
So since I run my mouth, and get asked a lot who I would acquire I’m going to give you a list, with a reason why for each player.
Michael Young – The first name I love is Michael Young. It sounds as if the Phillies are amendable to trading him and he would be a rental. The Phillies are in need of bullpen help, something I think the Pirates could easily provide.
Young has a decent average and gets on base. His OBP of .347 would instantly tie Neil Walker as second on the team. With Young you get a steady bat that will get on base. What the Pirates don’t need right now is more power. They need more at bats that bring guys in. A higher average player will help that cause instantly.
What else does Young bring? Position versatility. That’s something Clint Hurdle loves. He’s probably not an everyday shortstop at this point but he can fake it if need be. On top of that he has experience at first, second, and third base.
He’s a flexibile, gritty, veteran presence that is actually producing. A clubhouse leader that played for the same team 13 years before being traded. Someone who other players have great things to say about.
Someone that Clint Hurdle himself coached in Texas.
He doesn’t have to be a bench player, you can plug him in at first and I think he’d probably provide more value than a Jones/Sanchez platoon…. even if it means less power.
Another way to get him at bats is against LHP in place of Walker.
I know, I know, I killed platoon players earlier blah blah blah. There is a massive difference in a “platoon player” and someone getting at bats in a platoon.
Young isn’t necessarily hitting a ton against lefties in terms of average, but his OPS is .714. Neil Walker’s OPS is .442.
Trading for Young immediately makes Inge expendable while dealing from a position of strength, the bullpen.
Young would be a very, very good addition to this lineup.
Young is slated to make $16 million this year, with $10 million paid by the Rangers. That would be a pretty cheap deal for the Pirates and it wouldn’t hamper any payroll considerations next year as he’s a free agent.
Norichika Aoki – This upgrade would be more expensive, more risky (division rival), and is probably less likely overall. It would also be much more expensive.
Aoki brings some of the same tools as Young without the position flexibility and at a higher cost in the long run as he’s team controlled until 2017.
It’s not even confirmed that Aoki is definitely being shopped either. The Brewers don’t have to move him. Again though, his bat fills a hole that this team needs. On base ability. A guy that can hit with RISP.
The problem with him though is he’s right field only. You can’t move him around. The positive is he allows you to trade a Travis Snider as he bats lefty but doesn’t require you to platoon him.
Maybe you trade a reliever for Michael Young and trade Snider and someone else for a reliever? That would wildly upgrade the lineup without having to actually cut anyone. In fact it’s possible the losses are even made up to a point depending on trade details.
Placido Polanco – I don’t necessarily want Polanco. His best days are way behind him. If the Pirates are looking for a platoon option he is very attractive.
|vs RHP as RHB||62||195||36||3||0||1||7||15||15||.205||.282||.239||.521|
|vs LHP as RHB||32||82||26||5||0||0||5||3||7||.338||.366||.403||.768|
I think Polanco can probably still play second, especially if it’s just against lefties to spell walker. He can definitely still play third, if you want to give Pedro a blow. Not so sure about the outfield though. I think it’d be enough to get rid of Brandon Inge but I’m not sure Polanco throws the Pirates over the top.
The positive is he’d come cheap. He only makes 2.75 million this year and is a free agent next year. The Marlins are almost guaranteed to move him and it would cost next to nothing to pick him up.
He’d likely find himself on the bench though so this move is only really worthwhile if you combine it with a trade for a legitimate outfield bat.
Again, some position flexibility, veteran leadership guy. This is another player that would fit the mold that Hurdle likes.
Don’t discount how important that factor is. Hurdle isn’t going to use guys if they don’t fit his mold. I’m taking that into consideration to a point.
Alfonso Soriano – Until now that is. I’m not so sure Soriano is what you’d call a veteran leader but sometimes you don’t always get the perfect player.
Soriano is a bopper. He’s having a good season, not necessarily a guy that will get on base, but he will drive in runs. That definitely isn’t a bad thing as the middle of this lineup can be wildly inconsistent. He certainly isn’t going to take a bunch of walks.
The biggest downside here is that he turned down a trade to the Pirates last year. Apparently he doesn’t like the city. It’s slightly different this year though because he’d only have to spend one additional season in Pittsburgh as opposed to two. On top of that I think most people think the Pirates are for real this year. Much more so than last year.
He’s also expensive. Theo would have to take on some cash, which means he’d get better prospects in return. That’s absolutely something he would do, but I’m not so sure it’s worth the cost in prospects.
On top of that I’m not sure he can even play rightfield. His bat would greatly improve the Pirates lineup.
I’d ask. I’d do my due diligence. I wouldn’t overpay. At all.
Logan Morrison – Morrison is someone tons of Pirates fans actually wanted a few years ago. He’s well known for a great rookie season, a good second season, being a pain in the ass on Twitter, and getting hurt.
After he got hurt people kind of forgot about him. He’s healthy again and is having a monster year. In fact he’s actually having a better season than Giancarlo Stanton, a Pirate fan dream.
I mean substantially better.
He’s the more underrated, but possibly better player in his role.
So far this season he’d be the left handed portion of a platoon at first. He has been downright awful against LHP.
|vs RHP as LHB||21||67||60||22||3||2||4||11||7||5||.367||.433||.683||1.116|
|vs LHP as LHB||9||22||19||2||1||0||0||0||2||6||.105||.227||.158||.385|
That’s an extremely small sample size. He’s been a pretty competent hitter against lefties in his career.
|vs RHP as LHB||271||885||776||199||47||13||31||91||101||141||.256||.344||.470||.814|
|vs LHP as LHB||166||350||305||76||17||1||9||46||34||78||.249||.337||.400||.737|
He’s just a 1B now but it’d still likely cost Travis Snider his spot. I wouldn’t give up on Garret Jones just yet. You won’t find a better 4th/5th outfielder.
I will have another post as we get closer to the deadline, as more players become available so be on the lookout for that.