Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Role For Newly Acquired Outfielder

Edward Olivares is now a Pirate, what role could he play with the team in 2023?
Sep 4, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Edward Olivares (14) hits a
Sep 4, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Edward Olivares (14) hits a / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After trading for Edward Olivares, what role could the Pittsburgh Pirates have in mind for the outfielder in 2024?

It has been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Pirates. First, they signed first baseman Rowdy Tellez to a 1-year deal on Tuesday. Thursday evening they added to their outfield depth when they acquired Billy McKinney from the New York Yankees.

Friday, their activity continued. They signed Cuban righty Enmanuel Chapman to a $200,000 signing bonus in the morning, and later in the day Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that a deal is "very close to happening" between the Pirates and Andrew McCutchen for 2024.

Got all of that? Hopefully, because there's more.

Friday night, the team acquired outfielder Edward Olivares from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league outfielder Deivis Nadal. Pitcher Roddery Muñoz was then designated for assignment on Friday night, helping to create space on the 40-man roster for Tellez and Olivares.

With Olivares now in the fold the question becomes what kind of role could he play with the Pirates in 2024? Earlier in the offseason general manager Ben Cherington had discussed the team's desire to add outfield help this offseason. That need only grew when they lost Endy Rodriguez for the season to elbow surgery, forcing Henry Davis to have to catch full-time.

Could Olivares be that help? Well, it is certainly possible.

The 27-year-old Olivares is coming off a career year in 2023. Olivares hit for a .263/.317/.452 slash line in a career high 385 plate appearances and 107 games played. His 5.7% walk rate tied his career best mark, his 16.6% strikeout rate was a career low, and his .452 slugging, 12 home runs, 39 extra base hits, and .189 isolated slugging (ISO) were all career highs.

All of this resulted in the right-handed hitter posting a 105 wRC+, 109 OPS+, and a career high 0.4 fWAR.

Defensively, Olivares had some struggles. Most of these struggles, however, came in left field, a position that Bryan Reynolds has locked down for the Pirates. He had a -9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -5 Outs Above Average (OAA) in left field. As a right fielder, the position he would play if he's an everyday guy in Pittsburgh, both of these numbers improved to -2.

In his career, Olivares has hit for a .261/.310/.426 slash line with a 98 wRC+ in 771 PAs. While he's been just about a league average hitter for his career, the previosu two seasons he has been trending upward and looking like a hitter who is improving.

In 559 PAs since the start of the 2022 season, Olivares has hit for a .270/.322/.439 slash line with a 106 wRC+. He's drawn walks at a 5.7% rate, struck out in 17.9% of his trips to the plate, and has collected 51 extra base hits to give him a .169 ISO.

Olivares is under team control through the 2026 season. If he is given an opportunity by the Pirates and seizes it then he could be a mainstay in Pittsburgh for multiple years. With the current makeup of the Pirate 40-man roster, Olivares should have every opportunity to earn a starting role in right field.

dark. Next. Bucs Sign Chapmans. Pirates Sign Hard Throwing Cuban Righty