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Possible Pirates trade target: Mitch Moreland

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Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Grant tweets that "if there is interest" in Moreland, the "Pirates are most interested." What he writes below -- which still hasn't changed -- suggests pretty strongly that the Pirates are pursuing Moreland, so now I don't really know what he's trying to say.

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The Pirates and Rangers are discussing a trade involving Mitch Moreland, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

If there is a Most Desired Ranger on the market, it is first baseman Mitch Moreland with Pittsburgh as the most aggressive suitor. The Pirates non-tendered Pedro Alvarez last week, leaving an opening for a left-handed hitting first baseman. Trading Moreland to Pittsburgh would create financial resources to re-sign Mike Napoli, which would then also better balance the lineup. The question is whether there is a realistic trade fit with the Pirates or if the clubs might have to involve a third team in talks.

This isn't the first time the Pirates have been connected to Moreland, and the reasons it's happening again are obvious -- the Bucs still haven't solved their first-base problem, and Moreland is left-handed and a relatively cheap solution. Think of him as Ike Davis 2.

Hopefully the sequel will be better than the original. MLBTR projects Moreland will make $5.6 million next season, and he'll be a free agent after that. He's coming off a good year -- he batted .278/.330/.482 last season and played what seems to have been pretty good defense at first. Unfortunately, those numbers look likely to come down, particularly if he's playing in Pittsburgh. Texas is a good place to hit, and he probably won't hit .278 again. He's never drawn many walks, and his power is decent but not outstanding for a first baseman.

In other words, Moreland probably isn't as good as his 2015 numbers make him look, and trading for him now might be a case of buying high. The Pirates do need a first baseman, however, and they could do worse than acquiring a guy who at least has a reasonably long track record of competence. Acquiring Moreland and saving a bit of money on him as compared to Pedro Alvarez would also hopefully give the Pirates more flexibility to acquire starting pitching help.