By Jason Shetler
After non-tendering Pedro Alvarez last week, the Pirates have Michael Morse as their internal option to be the first baseman to begin 2016. The Bucs however would like to find an upgrade for first base this offseason. A couple days before the Winter Meetings, the Pirates were reportedly an “aggressive suitor” for Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Moreland is coming off a strong year for the Rangers this past season where he hit 23 home runs while posting a career best .482 slugging percentage. He’ll be arbitration eligible for a final time this offseason, as he’s projected to make around $5 million, which is quite a bargain for the numbers he put up in 2015. So what exactly would it take for the Pirates to strike a deal with the Rangers to obtain Moreland?
There had been different rumors that the Rangers wanted catching prospect Elias Diaz, and another suggesting Pirates #3 overall prospect Josh Bell. The mentioning of Bell reportedly “cooled off” talks, and rightly so obviously. However, the Pirates have said they still have interest in Moreland. The Rangers could be in the market for a closer, and the Pirates plan to sell high on Mark Melancon. They’re also said to be looking for a back end starter. Although Charlie Morton didn’t have the best of seasons, perhaps the Pirates could include him in a package to Texas since his groundball tendencies would fit well in the very hitter friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington. While Moreland is coming off a very good season, the Pirates shouldn’t need to give up a really significant return to acquire him.