It’s November. Some people are watching the World Series, others are paying attention to football of both the pro and college varieties, and some are watching hockey (that would be me). But spring training will be here before you know it, and the Pirates are in the market for a first baseman, having DFA’d my baby Michael Chavis (who could field but not hit) and plugging in guys that could really do neither.
However, there are some free agents to choose from. Some are admittedly HA HA HA, THAT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN, PATRICIA, but since sportswriting these days is full of rife speculation, I’m going to amuse myself. But there are some interesting guys, so we’ll look at them all.
CURRENT FREE AGENT FIRST BASEMEN (LISTING BY WAR)
José Abreu (36 years old, 6.5 WAR)
Abreu is still pretty good, and I don’t see anyone offering him the $11 million he made this past season. I think he stays with the White Sox, albeit with a bit of a pay cut.
Anthony Rizzo (32, 4.5) — Can opt out
Rizzo can hit, but he’s a terrible fielder. But he can hit (I meant to write that twice). I don’t see him going to another team as a first baseman, but POSSIBLY as a DH. Why wouldn’t the Yankees keep him? He hasn’t really performed in the postseason, and the Yankees take how players perform in the postseason VERY seriously, which is why there’s a chance they’ll let Aaron Judge walk. Also, he makes $16 million a year, which is a high price for a 32-year-old first baseman for any team but the Yankees. We’ll see.
Josh Bell (30, 4.0)
This intrigues me. Like Rizzo, we all know he can hit, and what I saw of him during the Padres’ postseason run his fielding appears to have improved a bit. He’s still well-liked in the Burgh, but they like him in San Diego too, and he’s affordable. He was one of the first ones to go in the Cherington Era, but his performances at Washington and San Diego might have put him back in Ben’s good graces. It’s a possibility—maybe not a huge one, but it exists.
Brandon Belt (35, 3.4)
Belt’s spent his entire career with the Giants, and I can see him taking a pay cut to stay and finish things out in San Francisco. I don’t consider him a serious contender to come to Pittsburgh.
Yuli Gurriel (39, 2.3)
Another lifer with the same team, which happens to be on the verge of winning the World Series (last week I thought Philly had the momentum, but Houston’s pitching is unbelievable and the Astros have won two games on the road). I don’t see him moving.
Jesús Aguilar (33, 1.0) — Mutual option
Jesús is my top candidate for coming here. He’d be coming from one of the few teams in line with the Pirates’ performances as of late, he’d provide instant leadership among the Hispanic players, and he’s quite affordable. He could also back up Ke’Bryan Hayes at third if necessary. I don’t think his coming to the Burgh would come as a surprise to anyone.
Eric Hosmer (33, 0.9) — Can opt out
This wouldn’t be totally out of the question, but there’s going to be a hefty pay cut involved anywhere he goes (the Padres were still paying off his contract with them last year in Boston) so I’m not really seeing it.
Carlos Santana (37, 0.6)
Hmm. I’m not really feeling this due to his age, but he has a lot of the same attributes Aguilar does. This could be a sleeper pick for the Pirates.
Miguel Sanó (30, 0.0) — Club option
Yet another lifer, this time with Minnesota. Not seeing it.
Yoshi Tsutsugo (30, -1.5)
Our buddy Yoshi is available, what a shocker. I think Ben Cherington’s aware, though, of the positive riot that would take place should he suffer temporary insanity and re-sign Yoshi.
And I am also definitely not ruling out a Chavis invite to spring training if he hasn’t gotten on another team. If it could happen with Chase DeJong, it could definitely happen to Chavis.