Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (29) reacts after striking out during the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Pittsburgh Pirates discussing Ike Davis and Mitch Moreland as potential trade targets

With James Loney returning to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ search for a platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez at first base will likely be limited to the trade market.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweeted something to that effect Tuesday afternoon:

As Charlie Wilmouth of Bucs Dugout writes, this is the first time the Pirates have been formally linked to Ike Davis in something other than speculation. If you’ll remember, Texas’ Mitch Moreland was mentioned by multiple sources last week as being a potential Bucs target, along with Toronto’s Adam Lind.

The Blue Jays reportedly asked for second baseman Neil Walker in exchange, which seems to have scared Pittsburgh off for now. But Moreland and now Davis remain in the equation, both of whom are in their late 20s, swing the bat from the left side, and are coming off sub-par seasons.

Davis, 27, hit a meek .205/.326/.334 with 14 doubles and nine homers in 103 games last season, although he was fifth in the National League with 32 homers in 2012. His average that year was still just .227 and his on-base percentage was .321, but if his power returns he can be a productive player.

As expected from a lefty hitter, Davis has had much more success against right-handed pitchers (.827 OPS) than vs. southpaws (.602). That would make him an ideal platoon mate for Sanchez, who does just the opposite from the right side of the plate.

Moreland’s platoon splits are less pronounced (.788 vs. .657), and the 28-year-old has been more consistent over his big-league career than Davis. Moreland’s OPS has ranged from .733 to .789 in his three full MLB campaigns, while Davis has fluctuated from .661 to .791.

Personally, I feel Moreland – who can also play a little right field if needed – would be a better target for the Bucs’ trade overtures. Both he and Davis are arbitration eligible for the first time this winter and wouldn’t be free agents until 2017, but Moreland seems like a steadier option to take additional at-bats if Sanchez stumbles or gets hurt.

Tags: Ike Davis Mitch Moreland Pittsburgh Pirates

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