The Pirates are supposed to be hunting around for a hitter to play first base or right field next year. If their interest in higher-profile free agents like pitcher Jorge De La Rosa and third baseman Adrian Beltre is any indication, they'll look from outside the usual bunch of rejects to find one. To wit: Lance Berkman tells the Houston Chronicle that the Pirates are interested in him.â†µ
"After initially being pretty disappointed, I've gotten over it," he said. "Now my focus is on who is going to contend that wants me to play for them. There's been a lot of interest — Cardinals, Cubs, Rockies, A's, Pirates, Blue Jays, a bunch of teams. I haven't had a single offer in terms of X amount of dollars, but I think this is the time of the year when there's a lot of tire-kicking."â†µ
The key sentence here is probably the one about Berkman wanting to find a team in contention. He'll probably only play for the Pirates if he doesn't get offers anywhere else. Personally, I think the Pirates can get by at first and in right field with the mix of players they already have - Garrett Jones, Lastings Milledge, Steve Pearce, John Bowker. Another possibility would be to move Pedro Alvarez to first and acquire a strong defensive infielder, which would help the Pirates' pitchers considerably. But I don't hate the idea of signing Berkman, who is only one off-year removed from being very solidly productive. Given his age, position and body type, he isn't a great bet to stay healthy and productive, but there would certainly be upside in signing him to a one-year deal.