Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Free Agents With Options to Follow

These players have team and player options before they hit the open market (or return to their team), and are potential free agents the Pirates should follow.
Sep 23, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Nick Martinez (21)
Sep 23, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Nick Martinez (21) / Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports
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Mark Canha

Mark Canha was a trade deadline acquisition by the Milwaukee Brewers, and he may re-enter the free agent market this off-season. If Canha were to become a free agent again, some teams in need of a first baseman, such as the Pirates, may kick the tires on him at that position, even though he's primarily an outfielder. The Brewers hold an option worth $11.5 million but a buyout of $2 million, essentially making it a net $9.5 million option.

Based on his playing time in 2023 with the New York Mets, it looked as if it was an easy choice to buy Canha out. He started the season with a respectable but unimpressive .245/.343/.381 triple-slash. Canha, who has previously hit for above-average power, only slugged six home runs in 303 plate appearances and had an ISO of .136. He still walked at a 10.6% rate with a quality 17.6% strikeout rate. However, walks were about the only thing of significant value that Canha produced with NYM. Overall, he had a .321 wOBA and 105 wRC+, which, while not bad, is far from being worth $11.5 million.

Canha was then sent to the Brewers, and his bat rebounded, slashing .287/.373/.427. His power output did not change much, only going up to a .140 ISO, but he hit five more dingers in just 202 plate appearances. His walk rate also took a step backward to 8.3%, but his strikeout rate dropped even further to 13.2%. But when everything was said and done, his wRC+ with the Brew Crew was 120, a 15% uptick from the first handful of months to the season.

Canha has mostly played corner outfield the last two seasons, albeit not to a strong level. He has -1 DRS and -3 OAA, which makes him playable but not great, either. Canha has played first base sporadically throughout his career, but the 127.1 innings he saw there this past season is the second most in his career and the most he's played the position since his 2015 rookie campaign.

His performance with the Brewers makes his net $9.5 million decision a little less clear. That's not a horrible price tag for a guy who had a 120 wRC+ and can play both corner outfield positions as well as first base. But that still doesn't remove the fact that he had a suboptimal first half with the Mets.