Heading into the 2013 season, there are still a few bench jobs open for competition as the Pittsburgh Pirates finish up the final two weeks of spring training.
However one of those bench jobs could be spoken for as Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington pulled the trigger on a minor deal Wednesday afternoon with the Arizona Diamondbacks that sees backup infielder John McDonald head to Pittsburgh, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 20, 2013
McDonald appeared in 70 games as a shortstop, second baseman and third baseman last year, posting a .249/.295/.386 batting line with six home runs. The 14-year veteran is an excellent glove guy though and will have some value to this Pirates team.
Being that McDonald is owed $1.5 million this season, it is all but assured that he will win one of the final bench jobs.
He can’t hit at all, but he can field the shortstop position very well, which is something that other bench options Josh Harrison, Brandon Inge, Ivan DeJesus can’t do.
The acquisition of McDonald affects Jordy Mercer the most as Mercer could have been a more than capable backup shortstop, but McDonald is a much better defensive option so it is all but certain that Mercer will begin the season in the minors.