Pittsburgh Pirates: Looking at First Base for the 2023 Season

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have upgraded their first base position already this offseason.  So what could that position look like for this coming season?

Things have not been good for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the first base position in quite a while.  Last season the team used Michael Chavis at the position.  Chavis who is a traditional second baseman made a decent adjustment to the position.  Still, the team designated him for assignment as he was not producing enough at the plate.  There was also trial and error with Yoshi Tsutsugo at the position.

So it was good to see Ben Cherington be aggressive and get the Pittsburgh Pirates a first baseman.  Last week, the Bucs acquired Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay rays.  Choi put together a strong career, especially against righties.  While Choi is an upgrade to the position, he still is more of a platoon regular than an actual regular. By no means should he be playing every day in the 2023 season, but being a left-handed bat will keep him in the lineup most days.

In terms of the other options, it sort of remains to be seen.  Michael Chavis could have been a potential platoon mate, but the team cut him this past season.  The Pittsburgh Pirates cut him in order to make room for Miguel Andujar.  The former Yankee appeared at first in pinstripes this year, but he did not make any appearances there with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Instead, he played left field, third base, and designated hitter.

Who else could be in play to get some reps at first base for the 2023 season?  The first name that comes to mind is Endy Rodriguez.  Rodriguez has turned into a really good catcher but also has developed into one of the best hitting prospects in general.  The team did work Endy out at first base and the outfield in the past.  However, the team still needs to upgrade the catching position this off-season.  If not then Endy will likely be used behind the dish primarily, rather than getting reps at first. The same can be said about Henry Davis.

In terms of what is most likely to happen, the expectation should be for Miguel Andujar to serve as the primary right-handed first baseman.  There is always the chance that the team could acquire another first baseman via trade or free agency.  However, this does not seem likely especially with Andujar still around.