By Jared Lankes
Whether or not the Pirates need an upgrade at the second base position has been the subject of many debates amongst the fan base recently. Some people think the Pirates should explore upgrading that position. Others think the Pirates will be just fine with Josh Harrison, Adam Frazier, or even potentially Alen Hanson. No matter which side of the fence you are on, the idea of upgrading at second base is a very real notion that the front office might look into. Today, I am going to look into three second basemen that the Pirates could potentially look at if they wish to upgrade their lineup at that position.
1) Logan Forsythe- Forsythe has enjoyed some great success since going to the Tampa Bay Rays from the San Diego Padres. He is just coming off a year where he hit 20 homers in 127 games. He is also signed through next year with an option. Overall, I think Forsythe would be a sneaky good pickup for the Pirates if they were able to get the Rays to part with him. His power and ability to get on base would be very much welcomed in the lineup.
2) Howie Kendrick- Howie Kendrick isn’t happy about his role with the Dodgers. He has openly been wanting to be traded, and I believe the Dodgers will make it happen. Kendrick has never been a thumper at the plate, but he would be an affordable, veteran leader for the Pirates. However, I don’t feel he’s a significant enough upgrade to make a huge difference in the lineup. He’d barely be an upgrade.
3) Brian Dozier- Even the thought of getting Brian Dozier gets me and many others super excited. Dozier has quickly become one of the best second basemen in the MLB but is stuck with the Twins team that is in chaos at the moment. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Twins trade Dozier if they can get a big-time return back. Dozier had an insane season for the lowly Twins, hitting 42 HRs (keep in mind he plays most of his games in pitcher friendly Target Field) with 99 RBIs. The guy is just skilled all around. Combined this with the fact that he isn’t a free agent until after 2018, he would be a welcomed addition into the middle of most any lineup. I bet the Pirates would love to have him, but the cost to acquire him would likely be beyond the range that the Pirates would like to go.
4) Ian Kinsler: Moving to the guy that I believe would be the best fit for the Pirates lineup. Ian Kinsler, 34, is still one of the most underrated hitters in all of baseball. Even at 34, he hit close to .300 with an OBP of close to .350 and 28 homers and 83 RBIs. The guy can easily still get it done with a unique skill set of having power and ability to reach base. I believe this would work very well towards the top of the Pirates lineup, and I feel the fit would be perfect. I also feel that it may be a perfect storm for the Pirates to get him. The Tigers are looking to shed payroll and could trade Kinsler to relieve themselves of money constrictions. If the Pirates would be okay taking some money on for Kinsler ($11 million in 2017), I think they could get him at a reasonable acquisition cost that would not cripple them while adding a nice bat into the mix. Kinsler would also be around at least through 2017 with a team option for 2018, worth $12 million, awaiting, which is also affordable. His relative affordability, his vast experience, and his nice skill set would make him a great pickup for the Pirates. I think exploring a deal like this would be a good idea if they are looking at upgrading the lineup and the second base position.
The Pirates may or may not upgrade at second base this offseason. At the moment, it’s not a priority for the team, but it’s certainly worth leaving the possibility on the backburner. If the Pirates want to upgrade the lineup, second base is the biggest hole that would be subject to a change here. I’m not saying it will happen, but there is a chance. The offseason is normally full of twists and turns, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Pirates made a move for a second baseman out of the blue.