The Pittsburgh Pirates have recently struck a minor league deal with Jake Lamb, a seasoned corner infielder, as reported by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Lamb, a 10-year MLB veteran primarily with the Diamondbacks, is slated to join the big league camp this upcoming spring, entering the competition for a corner roster spot. The Bucs are in need of a first baseman, and not just at the Big League Level. Lamb should be viewed as a potential depth signing.
At 33, Lamb's journey in the Major Leagues has witnessed highs, particularly during his tenure as the Diamondbacks' everyday third baseman, where he showcased his power with an impressive 59 home runs between 2016-17. However, his trajectory took a hit due to shoulder setbacks, including a pivotal rotator cuff surgery in 2018 and an AC joint sprain. He could never really return to his former all-star form.
A strong showing during spring training could secure Lamb a spot as a valuable left-handed bat off the bench. His versatility, covering both infield corners and some outfield exposure, adds depth to the Pirates' roster. Alternatively, he might begin the season in Indianapolis as Triple-A depth, ready to step in for potential injuries to third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes or first baseman Rowdy Tellez. Not to mention Minor League Rule V pickup Seth Beers and recently acquired outfielder/first baseman Billy McKinney. All four players bat from the left-side so it appears there will be a bit of a camp battle.
While it is not a splashy move, this move is suggestive to the Pittsburgh Pirates plans. A guy like Jake Lamb is looking for opportunities and the Pittsburgh Pirates do not necessarily have a clear cut person for the first base job just yet. While Lamb might be a long shot to make the roster, it is hard to predict injuries, other roster moves, or other factors.