According to CBS Insider, Jon Heyman, Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez would welcome a trade this offseason as long as the Pirates can find the right fit. Heyman also speculated that the Orioles and more specifically Camden Yards would be a great fit for the 28-year-old slugger.
There isn’t much in the way of sources listed in the story, but it isn’t a secret that the Pirates are shopping Alvarez as Neal Huntington said on 93.7 The Fan that Alvarez’s 2015 season was disappointing defensively and didn’t deny looking at various trade opportunities. Even though there isn’t a source listed in the article, it would not be a huge surprise that Alvarez is expecting to be traded this offseason. There were rumblings at the trade deadline last season that the Pirates were shopping the first baseman, but weren’t able to find a willing trade partner. They shouldn’t have that problem in the offseason.
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The most likely destination for Alvarez is an American League Club as he was a disaster at first base in 2015 and would most likely be primarily used as a Designated Hitter for any team that acquires his services. Alvarez has shown that he isn’t able to field consistently at either third or first base, so unless another team’s GM thinks he can fix the defensive lapses, there will be a lot of DHing in Pedro’s future. I think most fans have thought of Pedro as a future DH since at least the early parts of 2014 and last year’s terrible transition to first base did not quell those thoughts. Alvarez was a liability at the most minimal defensive position, so logically speaking taking the glove out of his hands would be in the best interest of any trade partner.
The defensive value would hurt or kill any trade value to a National League team, if you exclusively sell Alvarez as a hitter, you can definitely get something from an American League team. Alvarez has hit 111 home runs since the 2012 season and drove in 318 runs. He’s averaged 28 home runs, 79 RBI with a 111OPS+. If you remove the horrible defensive from the equation, Pedro is an above average offensive threat and that makes him a very attractive DH candidate. You likely won’t get a franchise altering return for Alvarez, but there is value in selling him as a potential DH because of the offensive value.
I think most fans have thought of Pedro as a future DH since at least the early parts of 2014
Any potential trade of Alvarez would leave a hole at first base for the Pirates, at least until Josh Bell is ready. I do think that Michael Morse would be a more than worthy stop gap. He doesn’t necessarily need a platoon partner either as he hits righties and lefties at about the same rate. He slashes .278AVG/.332OBP/.456SLG/.787OPS against RHP in his career and slashes .273AVG/.335OBO/.472SLG/.808OPS against LHP. If you look at Morse as a stop gap, he could likely be a very productive one for the Pirates in 2016.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of interesting decisions to make this offseason in terms of potential trades and I don’t envy Neal Huntington right now as the hot stove is still stagnant and everyone is waiting for someone to make the first major move and set the market. Not the best time to be a GM of a team that has a lot of potential trades to make. Whether trading Alvarez is the right move is a matter of debate, but I think most would agree, it is the right move to see what you could get for the slugger, especially from an American League team that sees Alvarez purely as a DH. One thing is clear, the 2016 Pirates will likely look dramatically different than the team that ended the 2015 season.
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