Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Underrated Free Agents Still on the Market

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates
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Josh Harrison

The Pirate middle infield situation looks to be set with Oneil Cruz and Rodolfo Castro manning shortstop and second base. They also have Tucupita Marcano on hand, who can play both middle infield spots, and Ji-Hwan Bae, even though he has seen an increasing amount of time in the outfield. But they traded two right-handed hitting middle infielders when they sent Kevin Newman to the Cincinnati Reds and Diego Castillo to the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates might benefit from getting a stable veteran right-handed hitting shortstop/second baseman, and since the Pirates already brought back a fan favorite and a key part of their 2013-2015 success with Andrew McCutchen, why not bring back another player from that era? Josh Harrison is still on the free agent market and still posted somewhat respectable numbers.

In 425 plate appearances, Harrison batted .256/.317/.370, a triple-slash that is almost identical to Kevin Newman. Harrison's trademark low-walk/low-strikeout approach was on display once again with the Chicago White Sox with a 4.9% walk rate and 16.7% strikeout rate. Overall, he had a .305 wOBA and 98 wRC+. 

But Harrison posted much better numbers from the start of July onward. His final 248 plate appearances saw him bat .276/.328/.390 with a .317 wOBA, and 106 wRC+, which was about 10% better than Newman. He's not hitting for much power and never has, but he still posted an above-average OBP and average during this stretch, which still accumulated to an above-average wRC+.

Harrison's glovework at second base and third base still gets positive reviews. The former All-Star spent most of his season as the White Sox's second baseman, where he had +3 Defensive Runs Saved and +3 Outs Above Average. He only had 187 frames logged at third base, but he still racked up +3 DRS and +1 OAA.

Getting another middle infielder isn't and shouldn't be on the top of the Pirates' priority list. They still have a few guys on the 40-man roster who can play up the middle, and with prospects like Nick Gonzales, and Liover Peguero, nearing major league readiness, it's not a pressing need. But Harrison's ability to play second, third, and left field could come in handy, given that both Marcano and Bae are lefties. Plus, how fun would it be to have both McCutchen and Harrison back on the Pirates?