By Jason Shetler
With the lack of production from the Pirates bench this season, particularly Corey Hart and Jose Tabata, here are some players who the Bucs could look to acquire in an effort to improve the bench.
Ben Zobrist: The Oakland Athletics were buyers at the trade deadline last year, as they acquired Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a five-player deal. The switch-hitting super utility man is posting a .746 OPS along with a 108 OPS+ this season for the A’s. Zobrist for his career has been better from the right side with an .807 OPS vs lefties, so platooning him with Neil Walker at second base would make sense. He’s owed $7.5 million this year, and will be a free agent after the season.
Gerardo Parra: Not much has gone right for the Milwaukee Brewers this season, but one of their few bright spots has been Gerardo Parra. The left-handed hitting reserve outfielder is hitting .281 with a .748 OPS and a 102 OPS+. Defensively, Parra has been terrific, as he’s put up a career 18.5 UZR/150 in right field and a 9.5 UZR/150 in left field, while winning a pair of Gold Gloves in 2011 and 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Parra is making around $6.2 million, and becomes a free agent after this year.
Jeff Baker: In his second season with the Miami Marlins, Jeff Baker has found himself in a first base platoon. Baker has strong numbers in his career against left-handers, and this year has been no different, posting an OPS of .928 vs southpaws. Corey Hart was suppose to spell out Pedro Alvarez against lefty pitching, but has done virtually nothing against them. Not only would Baker be a significant upgrade, but he’s making $2.1 million, which is actually less than Hart is making at $2.5 million.
Ryan Raburn: While the Cleveland Indians aren’t sellers just yet, Ryan Raburn is someone to consider should the Tribe fall out of contention. The 34-year-old utility man is having a very good year for the Indians, as he’s batting .292 with an .877 OPS. Raburn is owed $2.5 million this year along with a $3 million club option for next season. Just like I mentioned with Ben Zobrist, Raburn could platoon at second with Neil Walker.
Will Venable: During his eight seasons in San Diego, Will Venable has been a regular in the outfield, but because of the Padres aggressive offseason moves, he began the year as their fourth outfielder. Venable is currently the Padres starting center fielder, as he’s filling in for the injured Wil Myers. The numbers have been decent for Venable this season with a .735 OPS and a 109 OPS+. He’s making $4.25 million this year, and will enter free agency after the season.