One realistic remaining free agent at each position for the Pirates to pursue

The free agent market still has some realistic remaining options for the Pirates to pursue.

Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game One
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game One / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
4 of 11

Second Base - Tony Kemp

It wasn’t all that long ago Tony Kemp quietly had an extremely productive season at the plate. In 2021, Kemp batted .279/.382/.418 with a .351 wOBA, and 128 wRC+ in 397 plate appearances. Kemp had a higher walk rate than strikeout rate at 13.1% and 12.8%, respectively. While his .139 isolated slugging percentage was above average, Kemp finished the year as a +3.1 fWAR player.

After a down season in 2022, where his wRC+ dipped to just 91, Kemp had his worst full season yet. In his last 419 plate appearances, Kemp had just a .209/.303/.304 triple-slash, .276 wOBA, and 77 wRC+, a far cry from the near 130 wRC+ he posted just a few years prior. Kemp still had a better walk rate (10.5%) than strikeout rate (9.5%), but that’s the only silver lining about his bat from 2023.

Defensively, Kemp was a solid glove at second base in 2021-2022 with only -2 DRS but +5 OAA. He was also decent out in left field with +2 DRS and zero OAA. However, just like his bat, his glove also had a career-worst season. He had -9 DRS and zero OAA at second base and -3 DRS and -1 OAA in the outfield.

Given Kemp’s last two seasons and his declining defensive value, Kemp will probably have to settle for a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite. That’s the only way I’d be okay with the Pirates bringing Kemp in. I think they have better options at second base and left field, even if they make a trade, but having him as this year’s Chris Owings, who only comes to the Majors in the event of an emergency, would not be a bad idea. The Pirates reportedly considered Kemp earlier this off-season.