In the ever-evolving landscape of MLB trade rumors, the Pittsburgh Pirates are emerging as contenders for an upgrade at first base. Going into the offseason first base was the most glaring positional need on the positional side of things. The latest buzz centers around the Pittsburgh Pirates interest in acquiring first baseman Josh Naylor from the Cleveland Guardians.
The rumor actually came out from the Cleveland area. Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports that the team is one of three teams that has shown interest in the first baseman for the Guardians. He reports in his most recent article that the Pittsburgh Pirates were showing interest toward the conclusion of the Winter Meetings say: "On the same day, it was learned that the Cubs, Pirates, and Mariners showed interest in Naylor at the just-completed Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee"(Hoynes, 2023).
While the Guardians have been linked to discussions about possibly trading ace pitcher Shane Bieber, the focus has shifted to Naylor's potential move to the Pirates. It seems that Cleveland is looking to sell more so this offseason. The Bucs have one of the best farm systems in Baseball so they could come up with prospect capital to make the move.
Naylor, with two years of arbitration remaining, brings a potent offensive presence and upside to the first base position. The 26-year-old had a breakout season batting .305 with 17 home runs in 121 total games. Obviously really strong numbers, but he also is a left-handed hitter making him all the more appealing for the Pirates and PNC Park.
Cleveland's pitching program is regarded as one of the best in the league if not the best. The Pittsburgh Pirates have several somewhat middling, but talented Big League-ready arms that could be of interest to the Guardians. Could a pitcher like Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz, or maybe even Quinn Priester be on the Guardians' radar? All three have plenty of potential but for whatever reason the Pittsburgh Pirates are not getting that potential out of the arms.
Obviously, it would take a little more than one of those pitchers. Naylor would be a big upgrade for the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup. He also would be someone that the team would have more than enough time to discuss an possible extension with. If the Bucs can make the deal happen they should. Naylor is projected to earn about $7 million this year in arbitration according to Spotrac.com so he definitely checks a lot of boxes for the team's quest to fill the hole at first base.