The Pirates remain interested in improving upon Pedro Alvarez at first base, Jayson Stark tweets.
Continue to hear talk that #Pirates would love to "upgrade" over Pedro Alvarez at 1B. Also kicking tires on shortstops with Jordy Mercer out— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 21, 2015
It's no surprise that first base would be on the Pirates' list of priorities, given Clint Hurdle's recent comments, as reported by Travis Sawchik while I was traveling over the weekend.
"I think we'll evaluate (Alvarez) as we did last year," Hurdle said. "I don't know what is going to happen two weeks down the road. Could it be different? It could be. Could it be the same? It could be."
As Travis notes, that doesn't sound like much of an endorsement. Of course, given Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer's recent injuries and the more robust market at third base in particular (with Juan Uribe, Aramis Ramirez and Ben Zobrist among those potentially available), it might make sense for the Pirates to treat the left side of the infield as a higher priority than first base.
There's no doubt, though, that Alvarez's defense is a big problem, and if the Pirates can find an upgrade, they should strongly consider it. The question iswho that might be. The obvious guy is Adam Lind. Unfortunately, Lind is left-handed, so he would immediately turn Alvarez into a bench player with very limited utility. Carlos Santana, a switch-hitter who's controllable for the next couple seasons, might be a creative possibility, but probably a more costly one. Mike Napoli is available from the right-handed side, but he hasn't hit well this season. As Joshua Choudhury noted last month, Steve Pearce could be an interesting right-handed option.