Could a long time Pirate killer be a free agent target for the team this offseason?
As of last Sunday, Major League Baseball free agency is underway. While no major moves have been made yet, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been active. Earlier this week they re-signed veteran infielder Jung Ho Kang to a one-year contract. With this signing, the Pirates have already signed more MLB free agents this offseason than they did last.
With the expected move of Kang being re-signed now in the books, Neal Huntington and the Pirates can turn their attention to other needs. This includes adding a fourth outfielder that can man right field until Gregory Polanco is healthy. One player that fits this description is veteran Jon Jay.
The 33-year-old Jay has played for five teams in his nine-year MLB career. He is most well known for his six years as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. During his tenure with the Cards, Jay began to develop as a Pirate killer.
Jay has slashed .331/.406/.413 in 111 career games against the Pirates. He also made approximately 5,000 defensive web gems against the Bucs in his career.
Last season Jay split his time between the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks. Jay slashed .268/.330/.347 with the two clubs with a .301 wOBA and a wRC+ of 86. While Jay’s offense was nothing special, he played strong outfield defense. Jay posted a 1.3 dWAR while being responsible for +7 defensive runs saved in the outfield in 2018.
Average offense and strong defense has been the story of Jay’s career. His lifetime slash is .285/.352/.378, his wOBA is .323, and his wRC+ is 103. However, throughout his career he has been a plus defender in the outfield.
Strong defensive ability and a high on-base percentage, both of which Jay possesses, is a good combination for a fourth outfielder to possess. He has also been a starter in his career and logged nearly 600 plate appearances last season. So, starting in right field until Polanco is healthy would be no issue for the veteran.
Most importantly, if Jon Jay is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates he can no longer torture them at the plate or in the field.