Pirates rumors: Bucs focusing on James Loney, also interested in Lind, Moreland

Al Messerschmidt

The Pirates are focusing on James Loney at first base, Jayson Stark writes. They've also checked in on Adam Lind and Mitch Moreland, who would be trade targets.

Given that the Pirates already have a lefty-killing first baseman on hand in Gaby Sanchez, Loney does make sense, since he's left-handed. The next splashy or outside-the-box rumor involving the Pirates that we hear will be the first one in awhile; if the Pirates are going to be relatively cheap and straightforward this offseason, Loney certainly makes sense, although he doesn't provide much upside.

Lind would be fine, too. He would surely excite fans more than Loney would, due to his power, but he's a significantly worse defensive player than Loney, and the Pirates would have to actually give something up to get him. He's owed $7 million in 2014 and has reasonably cheap options for 2015 and 2016, and he can also stand in the outfield if need be, so he'd provide the Pirates with flexibility. He's also a lefty, and he had a big platoon split last year, posting a .924 OPS against righties. He has an .850 OPS against them for his career.

Moreland is a lefty and a good defensive first baseman, but he doesn't reach base very much. He's due for a bump in production in 2014 as his extremely low 2013 BABIP returns to normal.

The moral of the story appears to be that the Pirates are looking for left-handed first basemen who won't cost them much. There's a decent chance that one of these guys and Sanchez will form a fairly effective platoon at a reasonable price. These aren't the sorts of high-impact moves we'd prefer, I don't think, but it's easy to see why they might do one of them. Actually, one of these moves could be terrific if it were, say, the third-most-important move the Pirates made this offseason, but that appears to be unlikely at this point.

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