This is assuming the Pirates think that filling in first base would be easier than filling in second base. If they do fill in second, then Triolo would go to first, and the Pirates wouldn’t need to find another first baseman. So let’s say the Pirates decide to go after a first baseman over a 2B. What should they do?
I like the options on the trade market. There probably isn’t a single Pirates fan who would take either Alonso or Vlad Jr. at a reasonable price. But I doubt that either team is going to put a reasonable price on them, especially Vlad since there’s less of a rush to see what he can get in a trade. Don’t get me wrong, I would also love to see Vlad or Alonso at first base on Opening Day next season at PNC. How fun would that be? But I just don’t think it’s very realistic.
So free agency it is. I’m not entirely opposed to a Joe/Belt platoon. Justin Turner and Carlos Santana are also solid options. However, all of this just pushes back the problem for another season without a real replacement in the minor leagues, unless they want Endy to get some work in at first with Davis catching some.
In my opinion, the Pirates really should go after Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins is what the Pirates need; a good first baseman for at least two seasons, and at a reasonable price. This is the guy they need. However, if Hoskins signs elsewhere, Jeimer Candelario is the next best option, given that he'd sign for at least two years and would be a solid option with some pop.
The very least I would settle for is a Belt in a platoon with Connor Joe. This is far from the most ideal option in my opinion, however. I would much rather have someome who will give me 500+ plate appearances at first base. But a Belt/Joe platoon would at least give the Pirates decent hitting production. Belt vs RHP combined with Joe vs LHP in 2023 comes to a .259/.373/.493 hitter with a .866 OPS.