Still waiting on a new Pirates first baseman…

Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette and Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout both posted 25-man roster projections today (check them out here and here) and came to pretty much the same conclusions.

No significant moves have been made, so first base is still a mess. Brink thinks that “it is unlikely the Pirates rely on (Andrew Lambo) to get significant playing time given his inexperience at the major league level.” Similarly, Charlie wrote, “I’m still convinced the Pirates will do something to address their first-base issue… The Pirates don’t seem to care too deeply about Lambo…”

I doubt Chris McGuiness has a shot, and if Lambo’s out of the question, then the Bucs need to make a move soon to find a platoon partner with Gaby Sanchez. Here are a few different first basemen they’ve targeted so far…

Ike Davis

Ike  Davis Pirates Trade Rumors

The Pirates and a few other teams were attached to Davis’ name for a few weeks, but talks have seemingly slowed down. The Mets wanted a solid pitching prospect in return (someone like Nick Kingham) and that wasn’t happening. New York seems content with taking him into spring training and competing with Lucas Duda for the first base job.

Davis is pretty interesting. He was awful in 2013, but he’s only a year removed from a 32 HR season and is still young at age 26. Davis strikes out a ton (which leads to a low batting average) but also walks a lot (which gets him on base at a decent clip).

There are actually a few similarities between Ike and former Bucco first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Mitch Moreland

Mitch  Moreland Trade Rumors

With the additions of Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland has been further blocked with the Rangers. He’s now preparing for a utility role with the team, likely to get time as their designated hitter.

The Bucs apparently had conversations with the Rangers at the Winter Meetings about him, with the rumor being Justin Wilson for Moreland.

Now, Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin (who is shopping for a first baseman as well) said, “Texas, at this point, is not willing to talk about [trading] Moreland.”

Also, considering the Pirates just acquired McGuiness from Texas, I can’t see the two clubs doing another first baseman swap. Not that it can’t happen, but…

Justin Smoak

Justin  Smoak pirates trade rumors

Smoak’s a name that the Pirates haven’t really been linked with this offseason. He’s been available though, considering Seattle’s acquisitions of Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.

The Bucs have shown interest in him before – in December of 2012, both teams talked this trade: Joel Hanrahan and Garrett Jones for Smoak, John Jaso, and Hector Noesi. It fell through when the Pirates signed Russell Martin and no longer needed a catcher (Jaso).

Simply put, the 27-year-old Smoak has been a bust. Over at M’s blog Lookout Landing, Scott Weber just posted an article about him today; this might make you cringe:

[quote_simple]”Justin Smoak, quite simply, has put together some of the worst first basemen seasons in the past 20+ years for his age. Even 2013, Smoak’s “breakout year” that fell apart down the stretch, resulted in 0.4 WAR – the 2nd worst season from any 26-year-old first basemen since 1994. When it’s placed right in front of you, it’s kind of staggering how historically awful Justin Smoak has been.”[/quote_simple]

The article explains how the Mariners may or may not unload him, which is pretty much the problem with all these guys.

Everything’s nearly the same between Davis, Moreland, and Smoak: haven’t put it together offensively, average defense, still young (all between 26-28), teams are asking for too much in return and/or may be unwilling to trade them.

They’re all pretty mediocre and not a slam dunk, but they seem to be the most realistic options. If these teams are truly unwilling to part ways with them at this point, then don’t be surprised to see Lambo get a shot.

If a move is made, you’d think it would come before spring training. Pitchers & catchers report one month from today.

What do you think will happen with the Pirates’ first base situation? Let us know.

Go Bucs

Bucs Bits: Pirates News and Notes 3/23/13

Some links on this second-to-last Saturday of March…

– Brad Hawpe was granted his unconditional release this morning.

– You can win a pair of free tickets to a 2013 Pirates game HERE.

Bryan Morris, Ivan De Jesus, and Jared Goedert were cut from Pirates’ camp on Friday.

– Jared Stonesifer of Yahoo Sports wonders if Russell Martin is the answer at catcher for the Pirates.

[quote_right]”He’s a good teammate. Good attitude, hard worker. He brings a great glove to have around.”
A.J. Burnett on newest Pirate, John McDonald[/quote_right]

– The Bucs acquired John McDonald on Wednesday; AZ Snake Pit says, “…I’ll be kinda sorry to see him go. His glove-work was almost impeccable, and it was a pleasure to watch him vacuum up balls on the left-hand side of the infield.”

– The McDonald acquisition looks to improve the Pirates’ infield depth; Tim Williams looks at the poor bench moves over the last few years.

– James Santelli at Pirates Prospects analyzes how the Bucs’ bench will stack up against others in the National League, based on ZiPS and PETCOTA projections.

– Also on the sabermetric side: David Manel has a nice calculator for projected wins over at Bucs Dugout. It takes the Pirates’ ZiPS and Steamer projections into account.

– Earlier this week, the club released six minor leaguers, and first baseman Jared Lakind is working to become a pitcher.

– Despite being used as a starter this spring, Aroldis Chapman will retain the closer role for Cincinnati. The Pirates host the Reds at PNC Park on the weekend of April 12th – 14th.

– Former Pirate shortstop Ronny Cedeno was released by the Cardinals on Tuesday.

– Pirates’ injury update:

– The Bucs play the Red Sox at 1:35 today, and the Orioles at 1:05 on Sunday – both games will be televised on ROOT Sports.

Only nine more days until Opening Day.

Go Bucs

Bucs Bits: Pirates News and Notes 12/19/12

A few days removed from PirateFest weekend, here are some Bucco links:

– Speaking of PirateFest, nearly 17,000 fans flocked to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which set a new record.

– Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout provides five reasons why the Pirates aren’t likely to get a huge return if they decide to trade Joel Hanrahan.

– More on Hanrahan — Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness wonders if the Hammer would be a significant upgrade for the Dodgers.

– Andrew McCutchen is a candidate to be on the cover of MLB 13: The Show. Voting begins on January 7th.

– Jason Shetler of Bucco Nation got an exclusive interview with MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.

– Gaby Sanchez is ready to bounce back in 2013, writes Bob Cohn of the Trib.

Happy Holidays from the Pirates.

– The introduction of the new Sunday alternate uniforms and batting practice cap at Friday’s PirateFest luncheon:

– Neil Walker is 100% and ready to go for 2013:

102 days until Opening Day.

Go Bucs