It has been no secret that the Pittsburgh Pirates need a first baseman for the 2014 season. Hopefully for their case they have something else in mind.
With no depth at the position throughout the system, the Bucs made a deal Monday to acquire Texas Rangers first baseman Chris McGuiness. Considering the Bucs have been linked to Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland for the last month, the move could be viewed as somewhat disappointing for Pirates’ fans.
McGuiness, 25, made his big league debut in 2013, batting .176/.176/.206 in 34 plate appearances. He was originally acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the trade that sent Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Boston. McGuiness batted .246/.369/.423 with 11 homers in 436 plate appearances at Triple-A Round Rock last season.
He was recently designated for assignment when the Rangers signed Shin-Soo Choo.
That being the case, I would doubt that Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington made the move thinking McGuiness will make the Opening Day roster and platoon with Gaby Sanchez this season. This was more likely a move to add depth to a position that has little throughout the farm system.
I fully expect Huntington to still look to add another first baseman.
In exchange for McGuiness, the Pirates sent reliever Miles Mikolas to the Rangers.
Mikolas came to Pittsburgh in a late November trade along with outfielder Jaff Decker from the San Diego Padres but he didn’t stay long. His move was a bit surprising as he is a power arm whose fastball touches 98 mph and entered last season ranked 25th among Padres prospects, per Baseball America.
Now that McGuiness is in the fold it will be interesting to see what direction the Pirates head.
The good news is that a move won’t be needed as it pertains to the 40-man roster as McGuiness will take the spot formerly held by Mikolas.