Newman opening the year as the Pirates starting shortstop only works if service time isn’t resolved in the new collective bargaining agreement. So what if the Pirates want to keep Newman around, but can start either Cruz or Castillon on the 26-man opening day roster? Well, they could move him into a super-utility role.
Newman is an excellent defender at shortstop. That kind of defense would also play well at second base. He’d also be usable at third base if the Pirates had to play him there. Newman, being a shortstop, is quite athletic.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could rotate Newman as one of their outfield options. He was in the top 83rd percentile of sprint speed, clocking in with a 28.4 feet/second mark, so he has the speed to cover plenty of grass.
If the Pirates want to keep Newman around on the 26-man and 40-man rosters, this would be the option they’d likely approach. Newman is athletic enough to move around if the Pirates wanted him to. His defensive improvements show he can make the needed adjustments to play the most physically demanding position that isn’t catcher.
But while he can make the adjustments and play the most non-catcher physically demanding position well, that isn’t a guarantee for other positions, especially in the outfield. If Newman can’t field, then you have a no-hit utility man who’s only good at one position.