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Notes: Why are so many contenders weak at first base?

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Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

A couple notes for Wednesday:

  • Dave Cameron notes that a number of potentially good teams, including the Pirates, project to get limited value from first base. Meanwhile, there are a number of established first basemen still on the market (Mike Napoli, Chris Carter, etc.), and some of the same teams who project to get limited production from first base also spent reasonably heavily on other, seemingly less essential stuff (like Daniel Hudson, in the Pirates’ case). Of course, the reason the Pirates in particular aren’t pursuing a first baseman is that they already have Josh Bell, who is talented enough that he deserves a clear shot even if forecasts don’t yet think much of him. It’s still an interesting discussion, though, particularly as it pertains to guys like Carter (whose market is evidently so limited that he could consider offers from Japan) and Pedro Alvarez, who the Pirates jettisoned after the 2015 season. The league appears to be undergoing a significant shift from the archetypal lumbering, powerful first base guy, like Carter, to a player more like the type Bell would be if he played better defense. The Pirates’ signing of John Jaso last year hasn’t worked out perfectly so far, but it’s very much a part of that shift in approach.
  • The Cubs acquired righty Eddie Butler for a minor league reliever. Butler was once a top prospect in the Rockies’ system, but he hadn’t done much to earn that distinction, in my view, and predictably struggled a bunch in the big leagues. Still, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him turn up with the Cubs at some point, either as a starter or a reliever.