Pittsburgh Pirates: Middle Infield Options for 2022 Season

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 31: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 31, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Kevin Newman

We will start with the obvious. While Kevin Newman is coming off of yet another poor offensive season, he was a National League Gold Glove Award finalist at shortstop this past season.  With the Pittsburgh Pirates and Newman agreeing to a $1.95 million deal for the 2022 season prior to the arbitration deadline, it appears that he will return to the Pirates next season.

Despite his defensive improvements last season there was some thought that the Pittsburgh Pirates could non-tender Newman. This was due to his offensive woes, career 74 wRC+ and .653 OPS, that led to the train of thought that the Pirates could move on from Newman. The Pirates having high-end shortstop prospects that are quickly approaching the major league level was a factor in this train of thought as well.

Unless Newman is traded after the work stoppage ends, which should not be ruled out, he will not just crack the Opening Day roster of the Pirates, but he would be the team’s starting shortstop. While Newman could, and likely would, be supplanted at shortstop by the end of the season if he does not re-discover his 2019 form at the plate, to start the season he’ll likely be the man at shortstop.