clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lefties, Lefties Everywhere

Straight to the point today: one thing I find a bit strange about the idea of the Pirates pursuing Rick Ankiel and/or Hank Blalock is that both those guys are left-handed, whereas most of the Bucs' other options at first base and right field (Garrett Jones, Jeff Clement, Brandon Moss) are too. Steve Pearce is the only righty who might be in the mix right now at first and right, and I can't believe the Bucs are still taking him seriously. If the idea in pursuing an extra corner guy is to add an extra bit of upside and perhaps hope for a nice prospect at the deadline if the new player does well, I can't really fault the Pirates for not considering the player's handedness. But if the Pirates really are serious about seeing what they have in Clement, in particular, it would seem to behoove them to find someone whose skills complement his.

Admittedly, the pickings in that area are pretty slim. Two righty free agent outfielders who might make a bit of sense are Marlon Byrd and Coco Crisp. Byrd was a regular for the Rangers this year and has played pretty well for three straight seasons, so he might require the sort of multiyear contract to which the Pirates would probably rather not commit themselves.

Crisp is a subpar hitter, but he's not old, and he's an outstanding defensive player; he could certainly handle either left or center (if that were required) in PNC. Unfortunately, his throwing arm was poor even before he had surgery on both shoulders this year, so playing him in right wouldn't work. If he were added to the roster, the Pirates could work out some sort of time share where Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jones played every day but rotated between left and right (Milledge) and right and first (Jones), while Clement and Crisp formed some sort of weird semi-platoon at the other available positions.

...This is all really speculative, and Crisp obviously isn't ideal, but I'm trying to be creative here. Given the free agent market, I can see why the Pirates would be interested in Ankiel and Blalock, and I'm not opposed to signing either of them, if they'd be willing to play in Pittsburgh. But, as much as PNC is kinder to lefties than righties, it seems a bit strange to crowd the roster with lefties. Maybe a low-leverage trade or an inspired minor league free agent signing (Ernesto Mejia of the Bravesperhaps?) would be the right move here, with the righty Pearce's initial role being determined by how credible a major league option the new acquisition is.