Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Outfielder Mitch Haniger
By Marty Leap
If the Pittsburgh Pirates want to address their outfield with a multi-year contract in free agency, Mitch Haniger could be a target
So far this offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates have addressed their need for help at first base and designated hitter. There are still multiple positions that the Pirates need to address this offseason, including the outfield.
31-year-old Mitch Haniger could be a good fit with the Pittsburgh Pirates in free agency. Haniger, however, is a bit different than the other potential outfield free anger targets we have talked about. This is because Haniger is a player that the Pirates could pursue on a multi-year contract.
Last season was a down year for Haniger. He hit for a .246/.308/.429 slash line with a 113 wRC+ and an OPS+ of 114. However, he was limited to just 57 games and 247 plate appearances due to injuries.
Injuries have, unfortunately, always been a big story in Haniger’s career. He was limited to just 63 games in 2019 and missed all of 2020 due to multiple surgeries. Haniger did bounce back in 2021 though by hitting a career high 39 home runs, to go with a .253/.318/.485 slash line.
In his MLB career Haniger has a .261/.335/.476 slash line with a 22 wRC+ and an OPS+ of 123 in 2437 plate appearances. He owns an 8.9% walk rate, 23.9% strikeout rate, and has hit 112 home runs to go with an extra base hit rate of 9.5%.
Haniger could do much more than just fix the Pirate need for outfield help. He would also add some major power to the team’s starting lineup. Additionally, he could help provide quality protection in the lineup for Oneil Cruz and Bryan Reynolds. This would not just extend the Pirate lineup, but could help Cruz and Reynolds get better pitches to hit giving them more opportunities to do damage at the plate.
Signing Haniger would likely require a multi-year contract. Which, again, the Pirates should be looking to do anyway. The rest of the offseason it would benefit the Pirates for any other free agent additions to be on multi-year contracts. With their window of contention hopefully opening up in 2024, starting to add players this offseason who can help be a part of the core that may begin to emerge in 2023 would be a smart move.
This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates need to add some outfield help. Specifically, a right-handed hitting outfielder. Haniger would certainly fill this need and could do so both in 2023 and beyond, something that would be welcomed with the Pirates.