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:

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.”

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

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  1. Rico Carson on January 14, 2014

    Gaby Sanchez does not necessarily need a platoon partner. His splits against right handed pitching are a product of him not seeing right handed pitching enough. Lambo and McGuiness would be fine to battle for the spot on the roster that gets called upon when Gaby is given the day off. Gaby should get 300 at bats in 2014 even if Ike Davis, Mitch Moreland or Justin Smoak end up on the Pirates.

    • From Forbes to Federal on January 14, 2014

      He definitely doesn’t need one, and it would be reasonable to give him a chance vs. RHP (considering he was decent against righties in ’10 and ’11). However, it just seems that the general consensus (from what I’ve read on other blogs, twitter, etc.) is that they’re still looking for a LHH 1B and planning on a platoon. I’m not sure what to think at this point, but considering there’s not much available, I could see them rolling Gaby out there as the everyday guy. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for commenting.

  2. lonleylibertarian on January 15, 2014

    Lambo deserves a fair shot in spring training. He has done everything asked of him and the metrics last year are interesting. I would rather reward him with an opportunity than trade even a third tier prospect for a head case like Ike Davis.

    • From Forbes to Federal on January 15, 2014

      He definitely deserves a shot at some point, especially considering the power numbers he put up in 2013. I’m just curious to see if they trust him at first base.

      • lonleylibertarian on January 15, 2014

        Having lived through the Dr. Strangeglove era – he could not possibly be worse – could he? I saw some majestic home runs in Forbes off of the bat of one of my all time favorite Pirates ;-) But also cringed whenever a ball bounced in front of him – seemed like a lot of runners ended up standing on second base.

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