Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Infielder Jedd Gyorko

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Jedd Gyorko #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after an inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 22, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Jedd Gyorko #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after an inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 22, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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If the Pittsburgh Pirates look into a platoon mate for Colin Moran, this long time divisional rival could be on the team’s radar.

Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates used a combination of Colin Moran and Josh Bell at first base and designated hitter. This produced mixed results. Although Bell struggled for the first half of the season, Moran did well. In 200 plate appearances, Moran hit .247/.325/.472 with 10 home runs and a 114 wRC+. He put on a good display of power with a career high slugging, isolated slugging, and 91.9 MPH exit velocity.

However, Moran has always hit right handed pitchers much better than lefties. 2020 was no different. Against right-handed pitchers he hit .254/.340/.516 with a 128 wRC+. But against southpaws, Moran put up a line of just .231/.286/.365 with a 76 wRC+.

Getting a right-handed platoon for the lefty would be ideal. Internally, Will Craig, Jose Osuna and Hunter Owen might represent options, but Owen and Craig have reverse splits and Osuna might get the axe. So if the Pittsburgh Pirates look into a platoon for Moran in 2021, they should definitely look into free agent Jedd Gyorko.

The Pittsburgh Pirates should be very familiar with the slugger. He was a regular for the St. Louis Cardinals between 2016 and 2018. He was quite effective in that stint hitting .259/.331/.463 with a .204 isolated slugging and 61 home runs. He also put up positive defensive numbers all over the infield, but he mainly played third base. At the hot corner he had +6 DRS, 3.5 UZR/150 and 3.9 range runs above average.

In 2019, Gyorko struggled, both on the field with a 36 wRC+, and also off the field only appearing in 61 games between the Cards and Los Angeles Dodgers. That led the slugging infielder to latch on with the Milwaukee Brewers on a one-year deal with a team option for 2021, a team option the Brewers recently declined.

Gyorko put up strong numbers in the 135 plate appearances he had with the Brew Crew. The power he showed in St. Louis came back, hitting .248/.333/.504 with a .256 isolated slugging and 118 wRC+. He was the Brewers’ platoon first baseman where he had 0 DRS, but 5.7 UZR and 0.7 range runs above average.

Throughout his career, the slugger has been good against lefties. He has a career line of .267/.345/.467 in 847 plate appearances. In comparison, he’s hit just .236/.296/.408 with 2136 plate appearances against right-handers. Last year, he was even better against southpaws, hitting .267/.404/.644 with a 166 wRC+.

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Gyorko would make a solid bench bat on a one year deal. If he produces anything like he did in 2020, then he would also make a really good trade piece come the deadline given his offensive ability, and plus defense at the two corners.

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