One thing has become quite clear in the recent stretch of games, the Pirates trade wish list should include a first baseman. Their current platoon of Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez is simply not getting the job done.
Unfortunately in this particular trade market there does not appear to be too many first basemen available. One option for the Pirates is to keep the current platoon and hope that Davis produces his usuall August surge. Count me as someone who is not comfortable on waiting for that.
I have written all along that if given the opportunity to land Anthony Rizzo via trade from the Chicago Cubs, Neal Huntington should do whatever it takes to do so. Yes, it appears as if the Cubs, one of the worst teams in baseball, are not interested in moving Rizzo despite earlier reports to the contrary. Don’t you think if the Pirates offer Josh Bell and an elite pitching prospect they could pick up Rizzo. Allow the Cubs to select from any of the elite Pirates pitching prospects?
Rizzo just makes sense. He leads the National League in home runs and is under contract through 2021,and is the exact type of player that the Pirates long for.
Presuming that the Pirates and Cubs do not make a trade that involves Rizzo, which looks like an incredible long shot at this point, the Pirates need to acquire someone to play first base.
Why not Scott Van Slyke?
No, the Pirates should not trade for him simply because he is the son of Pirates legend Andy Van Slyke, although that would make for a nice story.
Van Slyke has hit admirably against lefties this season. After tonight eighth inning home run off Tony Watson (lefty), Van Slyke’s (if my math is correct) is hitting .295 with seven home runs against southpaws. His numbers against right-handed pitchers are not quite as good, .240 with two home runs.
Van Slyke can play all the outfield positions and first base. The Dodgers currently have a stacked outfield with Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, an outfield of nearly 61 million and a significantly underpaid Puig. They do not have a need for Van Slyke, who backs up everyday first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (who makes nearly 22 million per season) as well. The Dodgers do not need Van Slyke, the Pirates on the other hand do.
Van Slyke offers an immediate upgrade over the Sanchez/Davis platoon which combined has produced a platoon batting average of .238 wih 11 home runs and 46 RBI’s in 408 plate appearances, that is an average of one home run per every 37 at bats. Van Slyke’s overall numbers of .265 with 9 home runs and 17 RBIs come in 136 plate appearances, that is an average of one home run per 15.1 at bats.
Van Slyke offers an immediate upgrade over the floundering Sanchez/Davis platoon. It would not take much to get him either. The Pirates could keep Josh Bell and all of those arms that Huntington covets for the majors. This trade makes tremendous sense for the Pirates.
What do you think? Do you think Scott Van Slyke could be an upgrade at first base for the Pirates? Should the Pirates trade for Van Slyke?
As always, for Pirates news and tweets follow @aronminkoff.