Now that the Texas Rangers have Prince Fielder as their every day first baseman, incumbent Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland could be viewed as expendable.
Given the need at the position for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bucs general manager Neal Huntington should at least be picking up the phone to inquire on Moreland.
With the first base position very thin among eligible free agents, making a deal with the Rangers could be Huntington’s best chance to upgrade the position.
There are plenty of positives about Moreland in a Pirates uniform.
The first being that he is a power bat.
The 28-year old posted career-highs in homers (20) and RBI’s (60) during the 2013 season.
Moreland’s also affordable as he’s only arbitration eligible for the first time this season and while he will get a raise over the $502k he made a season ago, he’s a guy who won’t break the bank.
Finally Moreland is a left-hand hitter who could platoon nicely with Gaby Sanchez.
While he only posted a .232/.299/.437 line last season, his splits were almost identical against both left and right-handed pitching, although he showed much more power against right-handers, which is another plus.
The short right field porch of PNC Park could play favorably for a guy like Moreland.
One would think that leaving Arlington would hurt Moreland, but his numbers were better across the board away from Texas.
The bad part about Moreland is the fact that he isn’t a high average or OBP guy and he is very streaky.
James Loney is still the guy the Bucs should be targeting to upgrade the first base position but if a deal can’t be reached there, Moreland may be the next best option if he could be had at a decent price.
He’s certainly not the type of player worth parting with any of the top prospects in the organization. But given how thin the market is, Moreland may be the type of player worth taking a shot on.
At the minimum he won’t be any worse than what the Pirates had in 2013 in Garrett Jones and Justin Morneau.
If he continues to progress though Moreland could turn into a nice short-term answer at first base, something the Pirates need badly.