One option remaining
Jose Osuna has bounced between Triple-A and the MLB roster the past three seasons, but finally got an extended look in the Majors last season. He batted for a mediocre .264/.310/.456 line, and 99 OPS+/97 wRC+. After mainly serving as a corner outfielder/first baseman, Osuna has started to get more reps at third base, which has further extended his utility. However, he’s not too great at any of the four positions, with first base being the only position he has average numbers at. Currently he has a -1.9 defensive WAR.
Last season, Osuna had reverse splits, crushing right-handed pitchers to the tune of .284/.328/.521 with eight home runs. He only hit southpaws for a .612 OPS.
Osuna probably won’t be designated for assignment since he does have an option left. You can never have enough depth who can play multiple positions, but it’s not completely out of the question. Osuna’s overall body of work isn’t impressive enough to the point of where the Pirates couldn’t go out and find someone who can provide similar, or better production than Jose has in his career for a better price. Both Brock Holt and Brian Dozier are still on the market, and although Dozier doesn’t have the experience Holt does in playing multiple positions, he could shift over to a corner infield position if he needed to.
Now the Pirates need to have someone to play third base until Ke’Bryan Hayes is ready, and I don’t see them optioning (or dfa’ing) both Moran and Osuna off the roster. However, I feel one will not be on the roster come Opening Day. Moran had a pretty bad 2019 season on both sides of the ball. He batted just .277/.322/.429 with 13 long balls and a 97 OPS+/94 wRC+. After posting a solid walk rate in 2018 (8.4%), it dropped by over 2% to 6%. But being in the bottom 30th percentile of hard hit rate and exit velo doesn’t inspire confidence in future improvement.
Not only is his bat sub-par, but his fielding is one of the worst in the Majors. In terms of FanGraphs’ defensive rating, his -7.3 ranked 101 out of 122 in the Majors (min. 850 innings). He also ranked 119 out of 122 in DRS (-13), and had the 16th lowest UZR (-8.8). Weirdly enough, in the few innings the Bucs slotted the left-handed batter at second base, he didn’t do awful, having +1 DRS and a 0.3 UZR across 61 innings.
Moran is a platoon lefty, albeit not a great one. He only hit .278/.329/.434 with 11 home runs vs right handers. However, he could make a solid bench bat. At the very least, he has been extremely clutch for the Pirates. When he stepped up to the plate with RISP, he posted a .328/.385/.547 line. In high leverage situations, he hit .283/.336/.475.
Given the current third base situation the Pirates have, they can afford to keep Moran around as a semi-regular for now. But by early June he probably won’t have a regular role as long as Hayes stays healthy, and doesn’t completely fall apart at the start of 2020.