Garrett Jones may yet be part of the first base answer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reporting that former Bucco Jones is close to signing a free-agent contract with the Marlins, it makes one wonder about the status of incumbent Miami first baseman Logan Morrison. Rosenthal himself connected the dots:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2013
The Pirates and Morrison were briefly linked in trade rumors last season. The 26-year-old seemed a good fit because of his left-handed stroke and inexpensive salary; Morrison made just over $490,000 in 2013 and is first-year arbitration eligible in 2014.
Now, with Jones released and only the righty-swinging Gaby Sanchez remaining to man first base, Morrison is an even more intriguing option for the Bucs. Although Morrison’s last two years have been disappointing (OPS+ of 89 and 95 in 2012 and 2013, respectively), he could easily improve as most hitters do into their late 20s.
Morrison’s growth isn’t guaranteed, but it would be a good bet to make. Also, his career splits against right-handed pitchers (.786 OPS vs. .707 against lefties) could make him a solid pairing with Sanchez, who was previously a teammate of Morrison’s in Miami.
Morrison won’t bring a huge power bat to Pittsburgh, but he would almost certainly be an improvement over relying on Sanchez for 120 or more games in 2014. It would make a lot of sense for Pirates general manager Neal Huntington to inquire about bringing the man called “LoMo” into the fold.