Pittsburgh Pirates: A Look At The Options For First Base

What are the Pittsburgh Pirates' options at first base going into this off-season?
Mar 20, 2023; Clearwater, Florida, USA;  Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins (17)
Mar 20, 2023; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins (17) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Trade Market

Of course, the big fish on the trade market, if they make him available (which is a big if), is Pete Alonso. Alonso posted a .217/.318/.504 with a .346 wOBA, and 121 wRC+. Alonso slapped 46 home runs, marking the fourth straight season Alonso has hit 40+ home runs (excluding 2020). His 9.9% walk rate and 22.9% strikeout rate were also better than league average. While Alonso’s average was low, he also suffered from a .205 batting average on balls in play. In 2021-2022, he hit .267 with a .277 BAbip. Alonso’s glove at first base was about average with +6 DRS but zero OAA.

But Alonso is bold to the point it could be unrealistic. Not only would Alonso take a lot to acquire, but he’s only signed through 2024. Plus it doesn’t look like the Mets are too enthusiastic about trading Alonso. At the very most, it would take the moon to acquire the all-star first baseman.

Another extremely bold potential trade target would be Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Guerrero Jr. batted .264/.345/.444 with a .340 wOBA and 118 wRC+. While this production is far from bad, it is a down season for the first baseman. He struck out in less than 15% of his plate appearances with a 14.7% strikeout rate while also carrying a healthy 9.8% walk rate. Guerrero hit 26 homers with a .176 ISO, which is above average, but a far cry from the .246 ISO he had in 2021-2022. Guerrero had a horrendous year with the glove with -6 defensive runs saved and -13 outs above average.

However, Guerrero Jr. may also be too bold of a potential target as well. The Blue Jays probably aren’t in a rush to trade the former MVP candidate, as he’s still controllable through 2025. Given Vlad had a wRC+ of around 150 in 2021-2022 combined, the Jays probably will try to see if he can rebound before dealing him while his value is at the lowest it’s ever been.

The last player I want to mention is Brandon Drury. I already went into detail with him on the article discussing second base options, so I'll just give a brief run-down now. Drury hit well for the second season in a row. He is one of baseball's more underrated power hitters, going yard 25+ times in each of the last two years. However, he is on the last year of his deal, and if the Angels truly mean that they're not going to rebuild, I doubt they'll look to move him as of right now.

The rest of the trade market is a mixed bag. Paul Goldschmidt is a potential player who could be on the move, but it is an expensive one year remaining on his contract, and he’s coming off a down year. The Chicago White Sox will likely listen to any and all players, including Andrew Vaughn, but they may have a high price tag on him, or at least want to see if he can breakout before selling low on him.