Pittsburgh Pirates: Long Time Foe Could Be A Fit In Free Agency


Depending on how some other chips fall this offseason, a long time killer of the Pittsburgh Pirates could be a free agent fit for the Bucs.

In late October, the St. Louis Cardinals decided to not pick up the team option for second baseman Kolten Wong. This made the long time foe of the Pittsburgh Pirates a free agent. Now, depending on how some other chips fall this offseason, Wong could be a free agent target for the Pirates.

There is little doubt that the Pittsburgh Pirates will look to trade second baseman Adam Frazier this offseason. They attempted to do so last offseason and at this past trade deadline. Honestly, it would not be a surprise to see Frazier traded early in the offseason.

If Frazier is traded, this opens up a hole at second base for the Pittsburgh Pirates. While they could slide Kevin Newman to second base, following the struggles of Cole Tucker and Erik Gonzalez offensively in 2020, they may be more inclined to leave Newman at shortstop. This could make Wong a free agent target for the Pirates.

Wong is coming off a season in which he hit for a .265/.350/.326 slash line with a 92 wRC+ in 208 plate appearances. He also played elite second base defense, and posted a 1.3 fWAR while joining Frazier as a Gold Glove Award finalist.

In his career Wong has hit for a .261/.333/.384 slash line with a 96 wRC+ in 3044 plate appearances. He has always been a plus defender at second base. Since 2014, hsi first full MLB season, Wong has been worth an average of 2.2 fWAR per season.

Another factor in the potential Pirate interest in Wong is the regression of Newman in 2020. While Newman’s regression should not have surprised anyone, it did not paint a pretty picture for Newman moving forward. Newman’s 2019 season seemed like a fluke and his 2020 season was poor, due to this the Pittsburgh Pirates may look for middle infield help regardless of what position Newman is at. Wong would provide this, especially if Frazier is indeed traded.

Even if Frazier is not traded, Wong could still be a fit for the Pirates. Frazier’s best position may still be in a utility role for the Pirates. This would create an opportunity for Wong regardless of what happens with Frazier.

Moving to a utility role is one that could be easy to do with Frazier, too. While recent podcast guest Anthony Alford may get an extended look in center field this spring, the Pittsburgh Pirates may also put Bryan Reynolds there. That could create a spot in left field to be filled by Frazier.

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The Pirates may even determind their best team is one that has Frazier in left field, Reynolds in center field and someone new at second base. Reagardless, there are multiple outcomes from the 2020 offseason in which Wong is a free agent fit for the Pirates.