Welcome back to the weekly Pittsburgh Pirates mailbag here at Rum Bunter
As always, thank you to everyone who submitted questions this week and participated. Now, let’s dive into the mailbag!
There is definitely a fit with the Pirates for ex-Pirate, now World Series MVP Steve Pearce. Pearce could play in right field until Gregory Polanco returns from injury, and then become the team’s fourth outfielder/backup first baseman. He would also add a right-handed bat that both the lineup and bench could use.
That said, odds are, Pearce will want to go somewhere he’d have the opportunity to win a starting job and keep it all season. In Pittsburgh, barring injury, there will not be a starting job for Pearce when Polanco returns. But that should not deter the Pirates from pursuing their former top prospect if Neal Huntington believes he can help.
Could Pirate third base coach Joey Cora become a Big League manager one day? Absolutely. But if/when that happens it’ll be due to his own accomplishments not those of his brother.
Cora spent many years cutting his teeth as a coach in the minor leagues, including multiple stops as a MiLB manager. He is well respected in baseball circles and has been a coach for the Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins, to go along with his current role as Pirate third base coach.
In the past, Cora has interviewed for MLB managerial positions and he nearly became the Brewers manager following the 2010 season. Cora becoming a MLB manager may be a question of when and not if.
Free agency begins a week after the World Series ends. So, Sunday. But until then, free agents can talk to/negotiate with the team they finished 2018 with.
To start the year? No. Despite his success thus far in the Arizona Fall League, Cole Tucker will begin the 2019 season in the minor leagues.
Tucker is just 22-years-old and struggled in his first full season at Double-A in 2018. After slashing .259/.333/.356 to go with a .315 wOBA and 103 wRC+ for the Altoona Curve in 2018, odds are, Tucker will begin the season back with Altoona. However, he should reach Triple-A Indianapolis at some point in 2019.
While Tucker’s offense needs to improve, which it did in the second half of 2018 and has in the AFL, he is a Gold Glove caliber fielder at shortstop and, in my opinion, the Pirates’ shortstop of the future. Despite the team’s need at the position, 2020 is a more realistic arrival date for the former first-round draft pick.
That will do it for this week. If you ever have a question for the mailbag look for our Tweet asking for questions each week throughout the offseason.