Pittsburgh Pirates: Looking at The Athletics Free Agent Targets

The Athletic recently released their top 40 free agent list, and have the Pittsburgh Pirates as good fits for these three players.
Aug 5, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario (9) is greeted
Aug 5, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario (9) is greeted / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Two Hitters

Of the three free agents listed, Jeimer Candelario would be a great fit, and maybe the best fit. Although he has spent most of his career at third base, he has over 600 innings at first base, and split his time between third base and first base down the stretch with the Chicago Cubs. Candelario is coming off a nice rebound season with the Washington Nationals and the Cubs, slashing .251/.336/.471 with a .346 wOBA, and 117 wRC+. 

Both of Candelario’s 9.2% walk rate and 22% strikeout rate were slightly better than league average. He also hit for career bests in the power department. He hit 20+ home runs for the first time in his career, topping out at 22 in 576 plate appearances, while having a quality .220 isolated slugging percentage. He’s also not a bad defender, with +2 DRS and only -2 OAA at first base throughout his career.

The second free agent is recent Gold Glove recipient Kevin Kiermaier. Kiermaier isn’t just one of the best defensive players in the game today, he may be one of the best defensive center fielders of all time. Last year, he had +18 defensive runs saved with +14 outs above average. He has one of the best outfield arms in the game, and averaged out at 92.8 MPH on his throws. Even though he’s getting older, he was in the 87th percentile of sprint speed.

While Kiermaier’s glove is his strong suit and calling card, he’s able to hold his own with the bat. He slashed .265/.322/.419 with a .320 wOBA, and 104 wRC+, making him a slightly above league average hitter. Kiermaier’s 7.1% walk rate and 21.9% strikeout rate are both average for him. The only thing is, Kiermaier is not very durable. He has never played even 130 games in a single season.