2 questions Pirates have already answered in 2024, 1 that still lingers

Will anyone take control of a position the Pirates have struggled to fill in recent years?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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The Pirates are still searching for their second baseman

With question marks at other positions in the offseason, there seemed to be little doubt about what second base would look like in 2024. The Pirates knew they need depth and talent in their pitching staff as well as their outfield, and they added to that. But second base seemed like a position they had their guy at, as Jared Triolo looked like a potential slugging solution.

In 2023, Triolo was called up mid-year after starting the year with some injuries, and he looked like he was going to solve all of the Pirates' issues at second. The then 25-year-old righty hit .298/.388/.398 with three home runs and six stolen bases in just 54 games. He put up a 118 wRC+ carried by the average and walk rate (11.5%). There were some underlying concerns, however, like the 30.1% strikeout rate and the disappointing .398 slugging percentage. This has carried into 2024, and though his 25% strikeout is a good sign, he is hitting just .209 with a .261 slugging percentage. Triolo isn't likely to be a 30-home run hitter, but you would like to see the slugging percentage creep into the mid-400's and the average and on-base be about 60 points higher.

The disappointing start to Triolo's season has led to a lot of questions about who will be the everyday second baseman moving forward. Triolo still possesses a lot of upside and has the ability to play second and third base, something that has proven valuable with Ke'Bryan Hayes' injury. The positional outlook gets murky when you consider recent first-round pick Nick Gonzales' debut last year was also disappointing (though he has been solid in 2024).

Ji Hwan Bae has also just been called up and could fight for that role. He brings a different element to the Pirates club that is in the bottom half of the league in stolen bases. Bae has legit 70-grade speed, and a solid ability to make contact, though he may be better suited for a sort of super utility role, bouncing around between second base and the outfield. No matter who you like personally, no one has really stepped up to the plate and run away with the spot, leaving a lot to be desired.