By Jason Shetler
Here are some of the Pirates who potentially could be dealt in the offseason.
Ike Davis: After being traded to the Pirates in April, Davis could be on the move again this offseason. The left-handed hitting first baseman showed inconsistent power, but did a good job in terms of drawing walks and getting on base. It was rumored last week that the Miami Marlins could be a suitor for Davis.
Jose Tabata: When Tabata was called up to the Pirates in 2010, he was viewed as a long term option in the outfield. Since then however, it’s been nothing but inconsistency. While his average was good this past season, his OPS was poor. Tabata has two more years left on his extension, but the Pirates could look for a more consistent reserve outfielder, and trade Tabata in a package deal.
Mark Melancon: After a woeful 2012 campaign with the Boston Red Sox, Melancon has enjoyed back-to-back solid seasons in Pittsburgh. The Pirates will be looking to address the rotation this offseason, and dealing Melancon could net them a good return, especially if they think Tony Watson can handle the closers role.
Neil Walker: As good as Walker’s 2013 season was, his numbers were even better this year. Walker earned over $5 million last offseason to avoid arbitration, and will be due a hefty raise this offseason based on his 2014 performance. The Pirates appear to be 50/50 on giving Walker an extension. If they decide not to, they could deal him while his high trade value is very high. Last offseason, the Pirates declined a trade involving Walker for Adam Lind straight up, so a team would have to really make a substantial offer to acquire Walker this time around.
Pedro Alvarez: Coming off back-to-back 30 home run seasons in 2012 and 2013, Alvarez had a subpar 2014 campaign. He hit 18 home runs, which are low by his standards, and he experienced major throwing problems at third base, which prompted a move to first base. With the issues he had third and not really being a first baseman, an American League club could look to acquire him as a designated hitter. Despite coming off a down season, it actually wouldn’t surprise me to see a team offer the Pirates a couple of decent prospects for Alvarez just based on his career body of work.
Tony Sanchez: Drafted by the Pirates in 2009, Sanchez hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations so far. While he has the potential to be an above average offensive catcher, his defense behind the plate has become a serious issue. If the Pirates aren’t able to bring back Russell Martin, their likely going to go outside the organization for a starting catcher. From that point, they’ll have to decide whether to use Sanchez or Chris Stewart as the backup. If they opt to go with Stewart, who’s a better defensive backstop, the Pirates may look to trade Sanchez since Elias Diaz will be the regular catcher at Indianapolis, and because you don’t want at-bats taken away from Diaz. Sanchez would have to be included in a package deal.
Travis Snider: The Pirates made quite a surprising decision last offseason when they decided to bring back Snider despite a mediocre 2013 season. The 26-year-old outfielder struggled in the first half, but had himself a strong second half. Because Gregory Polanco underperformed after his much anticipated call up this year, the Pirates could have Snider as their starting right fielder to at least begin 2015. If they trade Snider this offseason, it’ll really say a lot about Polanco’s potential. Last offseason, the Oakland Athletics traded outfielder Seth Smith, a similar player like Snider, to the San Diego Padres for Luke Gregerson, who’s a very good setup reliever. Snider’s 2014 was better than Smith’s 2013, so the Pirates could look to possibly deal Snider for an effective late inning reliever.