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With trade for Phil Gosselin, the Pirates add a square peg

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Some quick thoughts on the Pirates’ deal for Phil Gosselin, which Wilbur already covered here:

  • Gosselin looks like an odd fit on the Pirates’ bench — or, really, on most benches. He’s mostly a second baseman who doesn’t play shortstop, really, having only appeared there in a few games in the majors and not many more in the minors. The Pirates’ other backup infielder, Adam Frazier, also doesn’t really play shortstop, which should leave the Pirates’ bench pretty thin at the shortstop position if Gosselin makes the team.
  • Gosselin has hit passably in his career, although his overall .283/.331/.385 line as a big-leaguer has been fueled by a .331 batting average on balls in play that seems likely to come down somewhat. There’s also the fact that, unlike Alen Hanson, Gosselin has a couple of minor-league options. Maybe Gosselin’s positional versatility (he’s appeared in the big leagues at all four corner positions as well as second and short), optionability and modest offensive promise are enough to justify adding him relatively cheaply. An extra bit of insurance also can’t hurt a Pirates infield that looks like a potential area of weakness, particularly given what’s going on with Jung Ho Kang. Still, Gosselin looks like somewhat of a square peg. He also has about half a year of service time left before he becomes eligible for arbitration.
  • Not that this is a big deal, but Frank Duncan looks like a lot to give up for a player in Gosselin who had been designated for assignment by his old team. Duncan doesn’t have much velocity and probably wasn’t going to become a regular in the Pirates’ rotation, but the Brandon Cumptons of the world have value when they stay healthy, and Duncan has already had success in the high minors despite only having been drafted in 2014. At the very least, he should make the big leagues, and it’s not totally out of the question that someone with his profile could have success, either as a starter or in relief. The Pirates, of course, know Duncan as well as anyone and decided they could part with him. They did get a big-leaguer in return, so perhaps that’s where the discussion should end.