The main target, as has been the past few years, remains first base for the Pirates. While guys like James Loney have been talked about, I wanted to look into some less talked about options that could provide an upgrade.
Kevin Youklis....Will be 35, coming off a week of playing time in 2013, and didn't have the greatest 2012 either(.745 OPS). Sounds like a fit, right? All jokes aside, this could be a very nice value steal for the buccos. He has a career .382 OBP and .861 OPS. He has a Gold Glove for first base, and could move to third against lefties to make room for Gabby. He also fits in great with the team chemistry, as he is a high effort player. A 1 year, 4 million deal with incentives based on playing time and an option for next year at 7 million. At this market, all he would have to do is repeat his 2012 line: .235/.336/.745 to provide value, and with his track record he has the potential for much more. Plus, what happened to the last Yankee we acquired coming off a down year?
Matt Adams....The biggest problem here is whether or not the Cardinals would deal him to us. Other than that, the 25 year old Slippery Rock Graduate would be an excellent fit. In just 317 PA, he provided 1.7 WAR for the Craig-less Cards. This is all from his bat, where he registered a .220 ISO and a .284 batting average with a reasonable .337 BABIP to support it. Now that the cards have acquired Bourjos, and Craig will be back at 1st, that leaves Adams on the bench. Kingham and Lambo for Adams would allow the Cards to still maintain a lefty power threat off the bench, or even sign Jones and them deal them if they wanted.
Adam Dunn....I know what you're going to say, but I still think he is an upgrade over Jones. If Konerko returns, Dunn can be had for very little due to his 15 million dollars owed. However, if the White Sox ate 10 million and we gave them a marginal player in return it might work(Adrian Sampson?). This would mean a year of Dunn at 5 million, at that price you cant complain too much. He owned a .226/.327/.786 line, with a ISO of .233 against RHP. He has lost a step, and he still strikes out entirely too much, but the move to the NL could actually do him some good. While Dunn may not be that much better than Jones on paper, the experience he brings as well as the protection he can offer can't be matched. Also, thanks to a new approach, Dunn hit .270+ from June to August, so there is that.
Mark Teixeira....I figured I'd leave with this mini-blockbuster.
Mark Teixeira- 3 years 67.5 million---Yankees Pay 19.5 of it(Pirates pick up 3 y 48 million)
Ichiro Suzuki- 1 year 6.5 million---Yankees Pay 1.5 million of it(Pirates pick up 1 y 5 million)
Yankees Save ~55 million in future contributions that could go towards Cano or if they try the Red Sox method. They get an all star lefty starter for 5 years very cheaply, a younger option to replace Ichiro, and two interesting prospects. They could play Lambo at 1st until Greg Bird is ready or Snider in RF instead of Wells.
The Pirates could manipulate the money whereas they would still have enough to pay Burnett even after this deal(Yanks pay all 19.5 this year so we only add 5 million[After cutting Jones and Gaby] which should give us plenty enough to sign Burnett). This works out well because we should be able to pay the rest of the deal when Wandy, Burnett, Russel, Liriano, Grilli, Ichiro retire/become FA. Ichiro is only in the deal to make it more lucrative for the Yanks, although he would be nice as a pr move and as a mentor for younger players. The time to get Teixeira is now, as he's coming off an injury riddled season. However, before that he hasn't had a season below 24 home runs(career .248 ISO) and has been good at taking walks(11.4%) and limiting strike outs(17.2%) over his career. In 2012 his defense added positive value, although generally his defense has been average or slightly below despite multiple gold gloves. His switch-hitting abilities make it easy to slot him in right behind Pedro.