Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill – Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur?


Welcome to a bonus edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill, where we discuss trade rumors, signings, promotions, demotions, and injury updates from around the Pirates’ organization. What brings about this bonus piece is an interesting tweet that Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pirates’ beat writer Rob Biertempfel sent out this morning.

The Pirates, especially considering the past two victories against the St. Louis Cardinals, can see the NL Central division title as a more realistic and attainable goal as they now sit just 3.5 games back in the division. They will be looking to make at least minor additions at the trade deadline, as the team doesn’t have many gaping holes that they need to fill. A right-handed first baseman might be an option, as could a fifth starter, a bullpen arm, and a depth outfielder.

The Phillies, owners of the worst record in baseball, will be looking to sell off as much of their team as possible at the deadline. At least, they should be looking to do so. While trading Cole Hamels might not happen this season depending on whether the they get an offer that they deem acceptable, they will look to sell off other pieces like Aaron Harang and Ben Revere. This is where the Pirates enter the picture.

The team recently lost Josh Harrison for approximately seven weeks to a thumb injury, and with that their primary leadoff option in the batting order. While Jung Ho Kang has been able to adequately replace Harrison at third base, he’s not a leadoff batter, as his power and ability to drive in runs plays better in the middle of the order. Starling Marte recently returned to the Pirates’ lineup, and while he can be a leadoff option with his speed, his power and ability to produce runs also play better lower in the lineup.

This leaves the Pirates with Gregory Polanco as their primary leadoff option, who has struggled for much of the season. His average sits at a lowly .231 and his on-base percentage is barely above .300 at .308. Those aren’t ideal numbers for a leadoff bat. Ben Revere, however, would be a much better option at the top of the order.

Revere is batting .294 this year with an OBP of .335. He’s also stolen 21 bases and has been caught only five times. While he doesn’t hit for power or drive in many runs, he can hit singles and get on base, and then put his speed to work. He also plays in the outfield, so he could either switch off with Polanco or take over for him while Polanco could be used off the bench. Revere is only making $4.1 million this season and wouldn’t be a bad pickup for Neal Huntington and the Pirates. He would be a minor addition, which is just up Huntington’s alley.

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Jeff Francoeur, on the other hand, doesn’t seem like the type of player the Pirates should be targeting. He’s batting only .246 this year with an OBP of .278 and is mostly known for his strong arm in the outfield. He’s been a negative win player this season, and hasn’t been a positive win player since 2011. As an outfield depth option, the Pirates could have better players in their own system with Travis Ishikawa and Jaff Decker. They could also pursue better options externally if need be.

He wouldn’t be a salary dump by the Phillies either, considering he is making less than $1 million and is signed only for this season. Therefore, there’s no need for the Phillies to try to part with him unless they want to make room for a minor league outfielder that they want to give playing time to. Then again, they could always just cut him and absorb his small salary.

Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates are clearly doing their homework in the scouting department. Maybe they’re just evaluating all possible options for all teams, as they should be doing. The Phillies are clear sellers this season, and while Ben Revere would be a nice pickup for the Pirates if he comes cheaply, the addition of Jeff Francoeur would be a head scratcher. Only time will tell, so make sure to continue checking out Rum Bunter for our Pittsburgh Pirates Rumor Mill every week, where we’ll keep you posted on all of the latest juicy rumors heading towards the trade deadline.

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