I think this may come down to what the Pirates feel would be the easiest to fill. If first base is easier to resolve, then they don’t absolutely have to look for a second baseman. Jared Triolo’s defense will be enough to get him a longer look. If he can even just be an average hitter, he’ll provide a lot of value. But with Peguero, Gonzales, and Bae also on hand, they have a lot of internal options.
However, let’s say they feel that filling second base with an external option is the best course of action. That would mean pushing Triolo over to first base, Bae likely taking a utility role, and Gonzales and Peguero fighting for a bench role. What route would the Pirates take, and who will they pursue?
The free agent market should be off the table. If the Pirates are looking for someone who can handle the position on a regular basis, there is no free agent that I would rely on to do so. If they want to bring back Adam Frazier, or ink Whit Merrifield, or Amed Rosario as a utility man, then that’s one thing. But none of them should be regulars on the Pirates in 2024. If we are asking one of them to be the regular 2B for 2024, then they might as well roll with Peguero and see if he can recuperate after his rough September.
So that leaves the trade market. I think putting Kim on the Pirates would be a massive upgrade over anyone else. Kim is a solid hitter and an amazing defender. Imagine an infield with him, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Triolo on the corners, and Oneil Cruz as his double play partner. That is three players who could win a Gold Glove next year. Nothing would land in shallow outfield with this quartet of infielders, slow ground balls would basically be automatic outs, and sneaking something down the line would almost be impossible.
Polanco would be the best offensive option. A 20+ homer upside second baseman with quality hitting would be exactly what this team needs, but his lack of defensive prowess is a tad worrying. Having Cruz and Polanco up the middle isn’t the most awe-inspiring group, even if the corners are secured tightly. Drury, however, may not be as good of a defender as Kim, but he can more than hold his own. Plus he comes with the kind of middle of the order bat that would greatly benefit the Pirates. He, along with Bryan Reynolds, Jack Suwinski, and Cruz would be potential 25+ home run hitters.
If I was Ben Cherington, I would see what the Padres want for Ha-Seong Kim, and/or what the Angels want for Brandon Drury. Both are outstanding fits, in my opinion. They're both good hitters and can field second base. Obviously, Kim is a Gold Glove fielder while Drury is just good. Still, they're both quality players that fill one of the Pirates' biggest off-season needs; another infielder on the right side.