As the offseason continues to move on and the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to be relatively quiet, you have to wonder if general manager Neal Huntington has something up his sleeve.
The Bucs biggest need remains at first base and with James Loney the only real external option that makes sense, Huntington is going to need a Plan B if the Pirates don’t take a run at Loney.
That option should be San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley.
Now I know I said the Pirates need a first baseman and I have them targeting a third baseman, but this scenario comes with conditions.
First of all it would require moving Pedro Alvarez to first base, something he may not be willing to do so early in his career.
The conventional thinking is that first base will be Pedro’s long-term position eventually, so the Pirates are going to have to make the change anyway. Given how thin the market is for first basemen at the moment, moving “El Toro” across the diamond could be their best option.
If it is a move that would be considered, the Pirates could finally count on some production from the first base position.
They would also still have Gaby Sanchez to fill in defensively late in the games and to start against tough left-handed pitching.
The next step involves Headley.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post has the scoop. He wrote:
The Padres have made a few runs at signing third baseman Chase Headley to a long-term contract to no avail, and now according to sources, San Diego is willing to listen to offers for the switch-hitter.
The Pirates have been linked to Headley in the past and while there currently are no indications that they have any interest now, he may be worth checking in on.
Headley had a down year last season, hitting just .250/.347/.400 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 141 games. Coming off that, the Bucs may be able to get him cheaper than in years past.
Keep in mind that the 29-year-old also started the season injured and never seemed to fully recover. This is still a guy who hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs and 115 RBI over 161 games in 2012. He did that in pitcher-friendly Petco Park and could add another big bat to the Pirates lineup.
The kicker is that Headley is currently on track to become a free agent after the 2014 season, meaning that if the Pirates were interested, they would need a window to try to sign Headley to a long-term deal before completing any trade.
That’s a lot of “what ifs'” to talk about, but the Pirates need to find a first baseman somehow.
Whether that means finding a first baseman on the open market or moving Alvarez over and targeting a third baseman like Headley, there’s no denying that a hole needs plugged in the infield somewhere.
Taking a shot on a guy like Headley could fill that hole in a big way.