Pittsburgh Pirates: Three First Base Options in Free Agency (And One via Trade!)

Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Donovan Solano

Donovan Solano is a right-handed hitter who spent this past season with the Minnesota Twins, hitting .282/.369/.391 (116 wRC+) in 450 PA, producing a 1.2 fWAR. Solano is a line-drive oriented hitter and has great control of the bat. He played primarily first base for the Twins, but also saw time at second base, third base, and DH while helping the Twins win the AL Central division.

According to Baseball Savant Solano ranked in the 99th percentile of sweet spot percentage, which measures the number of batted balls hit with a launch angle between 8 and 32 degrees, or in other words hit with a good angle such as line drives. While Solano has very little power production his average exit velocity sat around 90 MPH, producing hard contact a lot of the time.

Solano is different from the other players on this list in that he's a right-handed hitter rather than left-handed; however, his splits against righties have been fairly good. In 2023 he produced a 120 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and a 110 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. That would be in improvement for the Pirates on both sides of the ball and make this more than a platoon addition like some of the others in this list.

As mentioned Solano is also capable of playing second base, another area that the Pirates need to address. Second baseman Liover Peguero struggled greatly against right-handed pitching, producing just a 54 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers as opposed to a 114 wRC+ vs lefties. Solano would fill that hole easily and give the Pirates more flexibility in putting together the 26-man roster.

He's likely to get a deal in the neighborhood of 1-year $10M this off-season, but that could be lowered by adding a second year to the contract. It's more expensive than the other options on this list, but is the best option overall.