Winter meetings begin Monday in Orlando. The Pirates enter the meetings with a solid team, but it certainly has some areas that could be improved. Here are some of the things we’d like to see the Pirates try to come back with from central Florida:
1) A first baseman not named Gaby Sanchez. Gaby’s a great platoon player, but that’s about it. Used in the appropriate situations, he’s a helpful piece. He is not, however, a starting major league first baseman. A few names have been kicked around as options the Pirates could explore, and for the right price, almost any of them would be as good if not better than Sanchez. Ike Davis, anyone?
2) Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon still in the farm system. Unless the Pirates are offered a deal that involves Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and David Price all ending up on the roster, these guys need to stay. The blue chippiest of prospects, with years of control ahead of them, the Pirates would be foolish to part ways with them unless another GM gets very drunk at the meetings and makes a serious mistake (is that allowed?).
3) A backup shortstop. I’m all for the Pirates bringing back Clint Barmes on a short (1-2 year) cheap contract to backup Jordy Mercer, but if they’re not interested (which so far seems to be the case) they ought to kick the tires on making such an acquisition during the meetings. Mercer’s a solid player and a good hitter, but the Pirates would be well served to have another option in hand for getaway days and late inning defensive replacements. Also would give the Bucs opportunities to work Mercer in at second (where he belongs) on days when Neil Walker needs a rest.
4) A time machine that allows us to jump forward to spring training. The offseason can only be good for so long. The Steelers are terrible, the NCAA is no fun to watch, and the Penguins haven’t gotten into the real meat of their season yet. Come quickly, Bradenton 2014.