The Pirates open the second half Friday night in Houston with the next major milestone on the MLB calender being the trading deadline July 31. Pundits across baseball are breaking down the Bucs options offensively and today, David Golebiewski of Fangraphs offers his insight.
Not surprisingly, he suggests Carlos Pena as a solution to the offensive black hole at first base. Pena is frequently connected to Pittsburgh, so nothing new here. Other names he drops are the A's Josh Wilingham, the Dodgers' Jamey Carrol and Rafael Furcal, and the Astros' Jeff Keppinger but perhaps the most interesting suggestion is at third base, where he suggests the Royals' Wilson Betemit would be a good replacement for the recently demoted Pedro Alvarez at third base.
Maybe the Pirates see a major flaw in Alvarez’s swing right now that makes that projection unrealistic. In that case, the club could give the Royals a call and work out a deal for Wilson Betemit (.330 rest-of-season ZiPS). Betemit’s D is ghastly, which could be more of a concern with a low-strikeout rotation, but he’s certainly a better hitter than either Wood or Harrison and would be a nice stopgap until Alvarez is deemed ready. Betemit is owed less than $500K from here on out, and it would be difficult for K.C. to expect top talent considering that he has been plastered to the bench since Mike Moustakas‘ call-up. The difference between Betemit and Wood/Harrison from an offensive standpoint could be a half-win to a win.
Betemit is hitting .285 AVG /.345 OBP/.415 SLG/.760 OPS with Kansas City this season and is a .9 offensive WAR compared to the 0.0 figure of current third basement Brandon Wood and Josh Harrison. He'd also bring a little postseason experience to a young group that's really never played the type of baseball the Pirates are set to down the stretch. It's not a huge upgrade, but it's something worth looking at if you're Neal Huntington and Co.