The Pirates’ middle infield is fairly open at the moment, with several talented young players who could eventually seize jobs on a more permanent basis but haven’t done so just yet. To that end, general manager Ben Cherington told members of the media, including Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that the club wouldn’t rule out another external addition.
“I think we want to create competition there certainly, whether it’s guys that are already here. Wouldn’t rule out adding an infielder, either,” Cherington said. “I would emphasize the competition, but there will be a runway to be part of that competition and continue to earn it.”
At first glance, the idea of Pittsburgh adding a depth infielder is a little odd since they just traded Kevin Newman to the Reds. That move opened up the path for younger players to seize playing time, but evidently left them not totally satisfied with their remaining options. There’s possibly a financial component, as Newman was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to make an arbitration salary of $2.8MM, which the Bucs will no longer have to worry about. They could redirect some of those funds to replace Newman, while having added reliever Dauri Moreta, the return in the trade.
It doesn’t seem like bringing in a reinforcement is a must, just something that’s on the table as the club gauges the temperature of the offseason. That’s a fairly logical approach, since they do have plenty of in-house options, though they are written in pencil and not in ink. Oneil Cruz is now the clear top shortstop with Newman out of the picture. He has tantalizing tools, such as elite exit velocities, sprint speed and arm strength. However, he struck out in 34.9% of his plate appearances last year and has long faced questions about whether he and his 6’7″ frame can stick at short in the long run. The reviews in 2022 were mixed, as Defensive Runs Saved gave him a 1 while Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average were much more pessimistic, giving him a -.7.5 and -9, respectively.
The corners seem to be fairly set for next year, with Ke’Bryan Hayes at third and Ji-Man Choi at first. The latter is an impending free agent and a midsummer trade candidate, though perhaps today’s waiver claimee Lewin Diaz can take over at that point. Cruz seems likely to get some more time to continue the shortstop experiment for the near future, with several candidates on hand to take over a full-time second base job or utility role.
Rodolfo Castro had a solid showing this year, hitting 11 home runs and stealing five bases in just 71 games. He finished the year with a batting line of .233/.299/.427, which amounted to a wRC+ of 102, or 2% above average. He played between 19 and 32 games at each of second, third and short and is a switch-hitter, making him well-suited to a utility role. Though it’s also possible he separates himself from the pack and seizes the job at the keystone.
Ji Hwan Bae got a cup of coffee towards the end of the year, hitting well in 10 games while showcasing his speed. He added three steals at the big league level to go with the 30 he tallied in the minors prior to his call-up. He played some second base with the big league club but also center and left field.
Diego Castillo didn’t hit much last year but did play all four infield positions as well as right field. Hoy Park and Tucupita Marcano didn’t hit much either but both played the outfield corners and each infield position except for first base. Prospects Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales played both second and short at Double-A last year and could be factors in 2023.
The Pirates are obviously rebuilding and very few expect them to emerge as surprise contenders in 2023, which means this jumble will likely be straightened out as the season goes on. If they look into adding a more established player to the mix, they surely won’t be going after top free agents like Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson. Even the next tier of free agents like Elvis Andrus, Jean Segura and Jose Iglesias will likely be looking for more secure jobs than just the placeholder gig in Pittsburgh. That means the Bucs will likely be in contact with options like Hanser Alberto, Yu Chang, Tyler Wade or Danny Mendick. On the trade market, guys like Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Cavan Biggio could be available, though it’s also possible that Cherington keeps working the waiver wire.
Pirates should be open to just about everything at this point.
Everything is open to the pirates except a checkbook.
I’ve got my grudges.
if history is a guide, they’re only open to adding a middle infielder if the player makes major league minimum and the team has control for 4 years
The only thing they aren’t open to, increasing the payroll
Yea theyre open to a middle infielder, or any player, provided they make the league minimum.
Bote would be a reasonable priced addition
As not necessarily a Pirates fan, but from a baseball fan perspective, it seems every year I have no idea what the hell the Pirates are doing.
If you do figure it out, share your knowledge because as a Pirates fan, I haven’t figured it out. That Newman trade baffles me and see a tiny speck of reasoning to that move. Opening a spot for Cruz and the other prospects. None of them have excelled at the MLB and that is including Cruz.
The Baseball Fan
Mendick only $1 mil.
Weird. Seems like MIF is the least of their issues. Like half their good or better prospects play SS or 2B, 4 of whom have already reached the show
Castillo can’t hit righties and his arm, like Cruz and Castro are all erratic
Not weird to me. In pirates gm speak it means we are open to adding a middle infielder that no other team wants to give a major league contract and maybe we get lucky.
Probably more of a mentor role than anything else.
Rougned Odor, come on down!
Great. Then the headline can read “Pirates Add (More) Odor”
Wade signed a minor league deal with Oakland.
Cruz and Hayes are locked up till 2029 and 2030 respectively so naturally the Pirates will trade one or both in two years just because it’s what they do
What young starters did they trade with 6 years of team control?
Ask that question after they trade Cruz and Hayes in the next two years.
There has not been one guy the Pirates traded anyone with 3 or more years of team control. Sheesh, don’t you have something better to do like complaining about how the Mets of is bad and adding Judge and Correa will boost the team to the Dodgers level? Mets fans are getting as bad as the Yankees fans. Must be a New York thing. Maybe offer Judge another Bonilla contract that pays Judges great great grandchildren
As a Pirate fan and long time critic of Pirates ownership, I don’t understand the point of making comments that aren’t justified by anything they’ve ever done and are just blatantly stupid.
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Bob-You pitched the first baseball game that I ever saw in person on April 22,1962 when the Pirates beat the Mets for their tenth win in a row starting the season and tying the 1955 Dodgers for that feat.
Jay Hook beat them the next day for the Mets first win in history.
But if you think that all posters on this site see the glass half full or are knowledgeable about the Pirates then with all due respect I think that you are somewhat naive.You just have to ignore them and deal with the good posters.
LOL you used a star Pirate that the Pirates didn’t sign to defend the Pirates being frugal. Your complaints shouldn’t be with New York fans but with your ownership.
Mendoza, that’s very cool! My first game was June 1, 1965, age 7. Three rain delays, but that didn’t prevent Bob Veale from striking out 16 in a 4-0 CG vs. Phillies. About the only thing I recall is Andre Rogers hitting a double off the screen in RF. My 3 older brothers have always said that Johnny Callison flipped the finger to people near us who were taunting him.:)
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I think that I remember that game listening on my transistor radio!Bob Prince used to say that Veale could throw a strawberry through a locomotive!I believe that that is still the Pirate record for strikeouts in a game.
Jays have some IF Prospect depth as well, wonder if there is ANY chance they can pull Reynolds with Moreno/IF Prospect +
1. The Pirates are not trading Reynolds, although they should.
2. Reynolds is not a CF. If the Jays got him they’d have to do the same thing they’re currently doing with Springer (that they paid heavily to play CF) – move him to a corner.
3. The Pirate have young catching prospects – with an “s” – that they like.
4. Sign Bellinger. When he gets benched for having trouble hitting .200 he can sit on the bench next to Zimmer and Bradley, Jr. talking about their investments with all the money they’re being paid.
JBJ a free agent.
Pirates are loaded with middle infield prospects. This article is about the pirates gm saying he is open to signing a middle infielder that none of the other 29 teams want. They will certainly trade Reynolds but not because they are needing middle infielders. 2 of their best prospects are catchers as well. Talent is talent and Davis is iffy so still possible. Just saying.
Your Dream GM..Tell me Jace Peterson is gonna be a Pirate without telling me..
I have Dream GM back here, Pittsburgh Crawdads sign Joc Peterson to a pedestrian contract of 10 year 126 million dollars.
Cesar Hernandez is a stable – but not too inspiring – bat.
Except that there’s no way Nutting will agree to spending more money on players like Bellinger this offseason
When will people realize that Nutting is the cheapest owner in baseball?
Does that make Cherington’s job the least desirable GM position in MLB? Seriously. I’m wondering.
Probably, as Cherington only answers to Nutting while trying to field a team on purse strings tighter than noose
No the A’s job is the worst. Intentionally trying to be so bad that they move to Las Vegas.
Trade Newman than look for a middle infielder… lol
Newman was too expensive for Nutting, at almost $4 million, trading him was their only option
But there’s no way they will spend that same money on another infielder so look for a cheaper alternative
Newman for that reliever is a trade you make regardless. But they are likely looking for a middle infielder that cost less than 3 million and might not need to be given a mlb contract.
Pirates: Let’s trade Kevin Newman because we don’t want to tender him a contract
Also Pirates: WE NEED SHORTSTOPS!!
Newman was awarded an increase in salary in arbitration, then traded because he makes too much money for cheapskate Nutting
They don’t need shortstops. They are more than willing to start weak defenders, 2b, and aaa aaaa utility guys there.
Should read: “middling infielder”. As long as he comes cheap.
It’s the Pirates’ way.
no thats the marlins way, field a aaa team.
Hopefully they can convince the Yankees to trade Donaldson and Kiner-Falefa for a couple of sinker/slider relievers
Yankees would be the ones sending the relievers and eating most of the salary.
Like Yanks4LIfe said at the start of the comments, they should be open to just about everything, including guys or gals to put the pierogi costumes on.
Another day, another day of hilarity from the Pirates front office. I had high hopes for Cherington when he came on board but this past season and his comments that have followed simply illustrate that it’s all a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. And with all due respect to buuba and anyone who still sees promise here, I won’t get fooled again
They hitched their wagon to the kids. We all get it. Bringing in retreads to muddy an already overcrowded middle infield and delaying the progress of numerous young players is scatterbrained, at best.
Does it mean we’ll be returning to the unforgettable days of VanMeter batting 4th in a line-up that includes guys like Gamel, Matisnick and Vogelbach? Yeah, imagine having a ticket to that game
Play your kids and go with what you started. And apply what Branch Rickey once said to this team: we can lose 100 games without adding guys from the dumpster
Gamel and Vogey could find a home on just about any team. Pirates weren’t the first team to want Marisnick. Won’t argue with Van.
@YourDreamGM, you missed my point. You have a roster full of kids but you’re playing these guys….all at the same time??? You may remember this happened a number of times last season. Defied all logic
They didn’t have a roster full of kids though. If your point is those veterans shouldn’t even be on the roster I get it. Don’t agree with it since players talked about how much these veterans helped them and minor league reps are just fine for someone who can still benefit from them. Bae was only person I recall deserving a mlb call up and not getting it soon enough. They called up Mitchell and he didn’t show enough. Called up Jack out of desperation an they kept him until he went 0 for 30. Cruz wasn’t developed and still isn’t.
You’re probably right and my “obvious frustration” after what’s becoming an annual train wreck may have clouded my memory
Frustration is understandable. You aren’t alone. Most fans in any city say they should be playing the kids and let them develop and see what they can do. Teams want to develop them as much as they can in minors (and sometimes even more to keep service time for contending years) so no service time is used for a player until there isn’t much more they can learn in minors.
I’m waiting to see how they get out of the: ‘Cruz cannot possibly play SS at the ML level for a team that wants to win anything’ corner that they painted themselves into.
Maybe they’re hoping he suffers the sort of injury where he can DH but not play the field (as Harper had). They can sneak in one of their SS prospects and hope he does enough to convince Cruz to stay at DH, as he don’t appear to have the ability to play any other position at a ML level either.
It’s not that I’m a Reynolds guy, but I’m still surprised they made Hayes their cornerstone figure with the contract he got. Then the PR machine bombed all media platforms with Cruz pics and vids that detailed the speed of his throws and exit velocity of his homers. Hey, I hope all of the kids mature into solid players. I hope Cruz can find consistency at short and some plate discipline as he did over the last 15 games. But I agree, Sam. You have all these guys coming up as shortstops and you’ve thrown a young kid with bad habits the keys.
I just don’t understand what qualifies as player development here
I vividly remember Hayes being touted as a power hitter
You’d think this was true considering he struck out more than 100 times last year
Then again so did 6 other players on the Pirates
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Your memory is bad.
He was touted as a line drive gap hitter who would get plenty of doubles but only 10-15 homers.He is not built to be a power hitter.His forte has always been his fielding.
Giving him this contract early was their way of telling Pirate fans that they are trying to compete when Reynolds would not sign an extension.
I personally think that it was too early and a mistake.
according to Prospects Live, in their 2021 evacuation of Hayes. they said he has the potential of hitting 30 home runs in a season
His evaluations may have been different from others but this is where I got my information from
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He was never that in the minors,and I hope that the Pirates “ hitting coach” is not screwing with his swing.
Hayes just does not have the power of an ideal third baseman but can make up for it in the field.
He could have a decent slugging % with his aptitude for hitting doubles.
I think that he maxes out at 15 hrs and 80 rbis and 280 average which is all pretty good if he fields like he can.
Hayes was somewhere in like the top 10% in exit velocity, so if he can learn to elevate he’ll hit 20 HRs. But he led all MLB with 24 defensive runs saved so he’ll earn his money because defense doesn’t slump. He’ll be a bargain if the hitting improves
He sounds more and more like a guy who was pulled aside after a management meeting with ownership and told to cool it with the “compete for a championship” talk
Cashman and Cherington are buddies and nobody has more middle infield talent to spare than the Yankees.
Look for Pereza or Volpe to go to PITT for Reynolds and possibly Bednar depending on the package.
Reynolds isn’t going anywhere, they still have 2 years control beyond 2023 and Bednar is likewise under control for 4 more years
Small market teams with low payrolls and terrible records aren’t dumb enough to say a guy like Reynolds, “isn’t going anywhere”. If they can get 4-5 top prospects that are talented and controllable they’d be idiots not to listen. It’s baseball 101.
Pirates have plenty of middle infield talent at every single level of their system. They will trade if the Yankees give more value but not because they are in need in middle infielders.
Wrong. They’re in need of talent across the board which is obvious by their record. What’s also obvious by their low payroll is if they can turn a Brian Reynolds into a few cheap, controllable talents it makes sense to do so.
No I am right. They aren’t moving on from Cruz. They definitely want to get a good look at Bae and Castro who look promising. Marcano should get another look since BC targeted him in the Musgrove trade and actually got him in the Frazier trade. They still have expectations for Peguero who they got in the Marte trade. And 2 of their last 3 1st round picks were 2b. If they would trade for more middle infielders it will because of their prospect value and not because of a need at the position. If they have a OF and IF of same value I would say they go with the OF.
The usual insanity that comes from Yankees fans. Hey, maybe the Pirates should just give them to the Yanks for a couple million dollars. Sheesh.
“Pirates Looking To Improve”
Glad you think it’s, “insane” that I’m discussing the value of giving PITT a top five OVERALL prospect in MLB and other valuable controllable pieces. Do you even watch baseball?
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JJ-I think that what you have to understand is that Reynolds and Bednar are already controllable and are the stars of the Pirates.When a team is as historically bad as the Pirates have been for three and a half years all they have is to root for is their best players.
The large market teams quite often have a number of better players on each team.
And what you also may not understand is BC has plenty of young middle infielders who are highly rated and Pirate fans are asking why he would make such an asinine statement after he just traded a reasonably good veteran infielder.
Oh I understand all of that. What you’re not understanding is that small market teams need to turn one controllable player into 3-4 if they want any chance to better their situation. The team won 62 games last year and was 31 out of first. Obviously just Reynolds isn’t going to work. Turning him into top prospects that can fill multiple holes may. That’s one reason why the Rays are competitive every year.
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And what you do not understand is that Reynolds and your seeming throw in Bednar are solid major league all stars.Ask Cashman how it turned out when he could have had Gerrit Cole for Andujar and Frazier,two can’t miss prospects.All your players cited may be can’t miss just like Andujar and Frazier,but Pirate fans are tired of waiting for the return to competition that happens “ next year”.
Then again large market team fans do not know what that means as they win every year.
Those teams just have to wait to be patient to poach the best players from other teams.
You can theorize and idealize all you like. What I’m discussing is how your organization is run and has been run. Period. You deal veterans for prospects because of such a low payroll. Again, if they can turn one good player into 3-4 solid players, they do it because they don’t have the payroll. Five or Six years of control from a top 5 prospect is greater than two years of Reynolds in their business model. If you’re a Pirates fan or have watched baseball for more than 10 mins, you already know this.
…..and I wasn’t throwing Bednar in. I simply said if they greatly expanded the package.
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I saw your other post on Reynolds alone and slightly disagree.
If the front office did not listen to bona fide offers they would not be idiots,they would soon be out of a job.
An offer of 4 or 5 real prospects would certainly pique the interest of anyone controlling Reynolds.He is very good but not Mike Trout.
I would even go for 4,but it would have to be from a team with a stacked minor league system.I would want three from the MLB prospect list,a top ten,top 50,and top 100,and another from the teams’s remaining top ten.I would need two pitchers,an outfielder,and a catcher.In this manner even though all would not become good ML players,you would probably have two that would be,but at least one would have to be major league ready.
They had talks with the Marlins last year but the Pirates wanted three of their top starting pitchers.
So if you could go for that then we would not disagree.
You asked, “Do you even watch baseball?” Yes. Every game. For years. And I’ll ask in turn, beyond the worn out “small market” baloney that you’re churning out—something Pirates fans have heard repeatedly for years—are you even aware of what ownership of the Pirates is all about? Do you understand the obsession with profit margins above all else, the lack of desire to build a competitive product that plays in taxpayer-built PNC Park, one of the nicest ballyards in MLB?
Big market team fans are always happy to make pronouncements about competitiveness of small market teams, or lack thereof, and what they “must do” in the never ending cycle of draft/build minors…develop….bring up to the majors….compete….excel….trade away in lieu of big contract raises….repeat
Yeah. We get it
And as usual, all you are proposing to Pirates fans is the idea of poaching. Nothing more
But no worries. In this town, we have had an owner who’s been all too happy to give in and do such things
more like “ pirates looking to fool new generations into thinking they care about winning “
Pennys is having a sale on middle infielders Pittsburgh if you’re interested.
The other 29 clubs shop at Bloomingdales.
Well you might catch Tampa Rays at Nordstrom Rack during a sale.
Is Cano available?
Checked the ped aisle.
Even after jettisoning Chavis and Van Meter off the roster the Pirates have 5 players on the roster capable of playing 2B (4 of whoem also saw action at SS last season). Unless they are looking for something they can try and flip at the deadline the money could be better spend on a Catcher (Pirates Catchers were horrendous offensively last year) or maybe an Outfielder
The money could be better spent on almost every position
Hayes and Reynolds had disappointing seasons last year, their catching duo consisted of mediocre hitters and reluctant fielders, their 3rd outfielder ws more often a decent fielder with little power, pitching took a few steps forward, some were overworked, a few that weren’t released were acceptable but not outstanding
Their first baseman was anyone Shelton put on the lineup card
Basically, there isn’t any position that couldn’t stand an upgrade
Give Miguel Andujar some time. He will pay off. Patience and change of scenery is what he needed. You will be surprised
If he starts paying off next year and they aren’t in contention, he’ll be traded by July 31 for prospects
That’s the operation of ownership
Trade Schoop from tigers
Kruk's Left Nut
I briefly scanned the headline and I thought it said ‘Pirates are Middling’ and I laughed out loud.
The need a MIF and a decent starter. They like team control and cheap. Glenn Otto, Ezequial Duran and Brett Martin for David Bednar.
Possibly a financial component? Nooo.
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BC’s comments make absolutely no sense to me.If they want an older mentor for the middle infielders why didn’t they just keep Newman.I know that he was pegged at $2.8M but so what.They are not going to get anyone of any note for less.
The only justification is that the Reds reliever is going to be really good.
The middle infielders need to be taught fundamentals.They need to find out this year whether they are serious major league prospects before Peguero and Gonzalez come up assuming that they both progress in AAA.
These BC blips on the radar screen make me wonder whether he is going to be able to cut it in this job.He may be better suited to just be some kind of scouting guru.
They’re looking for a middle infielder st the major league minimum and is under control for a few years.
Trading Newman and his almost $3 million dollar salary allows them to find yet another dumpster diving player that has some potential but no major league experience
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Paul-It still does not make sense.They need to find out about Castro and Cruz and maybe Bae next year.It cannot go on forever.These guys need to play almost full time to find out if they are progressing in the ML’s.No more Van Meters,or even Hoy Parks.They do not have infinite time to determine whether these guys can cut it.
I still cannot believe that the entire Pirates organization is comfortable with the lack of progress of three straight 100 loss seasons,with another half season thrown in.If they are then whoever is should be shown the door.
I know that you think that that is on Nutting and it may be but these BC quotes make me wonder whether he thinks that he has years more to turn the ship around.
come on, Mendoza ,it’s been going on like this since 2016 when under Nutting’s control, salaries have been dumped, worthless free agents signed and prospects have remained in the minors
If they were serious about being in contention last year they would have brought Cruz up sooner rather than worrying about his super 2 status
I think the comments follow in a long line of similar items from Cherington recently and Huntington before him. What bothers me about BC this year is that he wants me and similar fans to either forget what we saw this year, or come to grips with his idea that we shouldn’t believe what we saw
Ok. Fine. Maybe it was just the kids dipping their toes in the MLB water
But we’ve also heard about the pipeline providing all of this young talent. @YourDreamGM and Buuba still point at 2024 as being “the year”. Guess some of us are guilty of watching other teams with young talent. Cleveland. Baltimore. Atlanta. LA. Houston. Even KC
Why is it their kids just look more polished?
But anyway, let’s load up on middle infielders. Our big need about now
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Nobody on this earth thought that the Pirates even had the remotest chance to compete this year,unless it was for third or fourth place in the division.
Anderson and Quintana were hardly worthless free agents,and Perez was fine until he got hurt.That is the reason why they needed to sign two veteran catchers,Every GM wins some and loses some.
It is important to keep prospects in AAA until they have learned the fundamentals and hit pitching there well.Nothing ruins young players more than rushing them to the MLs.They need to learn how to play the game in the minors under much less pressure.
Regarding Cruz every team keeps highly regarded prospects in the minors for the first few weeks of the season.This applies to even the large market teams who have the wherewithal to do otherwise.It is especially true to do for the small market teams who really cannot compete for championships under this monetary system.
I think that it is important to be critical of the Pirates and not look at them through rose colored glasses but at the same time to be realistic and give them credit in areas that they have done well.
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Tired-I think that Nutting has spent the money on PR people who tell BC to say stupid things.I knew that he was slinging when he said that Heinaman and Delay did a fine job filling in for the second veteran catcher that he should have signed.He designated them three weeks later as he should have done.
When the Pirates are as bad as they are they have to feed lines of bs to fans.You and I were born at night but not last night.
I just want to see them make clear progress every year.
Exactly. You have all these young players. Ok, play them. Who cares about the record in ‘23?
Forget the idea of bringing retreads in. You already have enough
But let’s see there are adjustments going on. Let’s see evidence of teaching…and learning.
That’s all many of us want to see; progress
How many years does a normal team in baseball to rebuild then how many for the Pirates?
They began this latest in 2018 I believe?
If I’m accurate, year 5, which is 2023, they should be competitive
Every year whether it’s been Huntington or now Cherington have fed the fans lines ( or lies) that they are seeing progress and being in contention is inevitable.
Fans like me are tired of their false analysis and even more tired of the endless merry go round of changing out players every year because their scouting or player development has failed
That requires spending money so I doubt it…
The jays should consider making a package with biggio + more for Brian Reynolds. They need an OF. He’s a lefty so that’s even better
They won’t be looking at the top shortstops…
They won’t be looking at the next level…
“So you’re saying I have a chance…”
VanMeter could be available.
Go get Tyler Freemsn from Cleveland.
As a Padres fan, my proposal would be Jake Cronenworth for Bryan Reynolds straight up. For the Pirates, that would solve their 2B vacancy with a gold glove caliber fielder and good hitter (his numbers would be a lot better in Pitts). For the Padres it would free up the middle of the infield log jam allowing Tatis to play SS, move Kim to 2B and allow Reynolds to play LF (a current vacancy) and possibly play some CF to swap out with Grisham when there’s a left handed pitcher. I would hate to see Cronenworth go, but I think we can benefit more from having Reynolds.
and who replaces Reynolds in the outfield, along with his power, Ben Gamel?
I’m trying to figure out what Cronenworth did to you personally that would warrant such a suggestion. I mean, after an exciting playoff run, you’re suggesting he be shipped here, to Baseball Siberia? The heartlessness!
Cronewith, yet another low average high strike out player
The Bucs already have enough of them
This is motivation for Cruz and Castro. Both should be doing more in the winter. Cruz should be playing. Castro should be hitting better.
and both should be working on their throwing skills