Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Position Player Trade Targets

Who are the top five position players the Pirates should pursue in trade?
Sep 10, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Ha-Seong Kim (7) bats during the
Sep 10, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Ha-Seong Kim (7) bats during the / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Number Two - Jorge Polanco

Coming in at number two, we have Twins’ infielder Jorge Polanco. Like Kepler, Polanco’s name has been brought up in some trade rumors. Polanco has consistently been a good hitter in the Majors, and while his glove might not be great, he comes with a second season of control left, that is if he can stay healthy in 2024.

Polanco played nearly half of the season, appearing in 80 games, but was quite productive when he played. He slashed .253/.335/.454 with a .340 wOBA, and 118 wRC+. Polanco has always hit for above average power, and clocked in with 14 home runs, and a .199 isolated slugging percentage. Polanco may have even been better, as he ended the year with a .486 xSLG%, .351 xwOBA, and the best hard hit and barrel rate of his career.

A middle infielder by trade, Polanco’s glove up the middle is not great. While he had +1 defensive run saved at his primary position, second base, he also had a -6.3 UZR/150 and -5 outs above average. He was primarily a shortstop for the first few years of his career, but registered even worse defensive numbers.

But Polanco is a consistent bat. Since 2018, he has registered a wRC+ of at least 111 (minus the short 2020 campaign). 2017 marks the only season since his 2016 rookie campaign he was a below-average hitter in a 162 game season.

He has the seventh highest ISO and 5th most home runs among second basemen since 2021. He is one of the best power threats at his position. The only downside of his bat in the 2023 season was his sub-par 25.7% strikeout rate. But he posted an above-average 10.7% walk rate and struck out just 19.7% of the time in 2021-2022.

Polanco’s team option for $10.5 million will assuredly be picked up by the Twins. But he also has a team option for 2025 worth just $12 million. He’s affordable, a consistently quality hitter, and adds another power bat to the line-up. The only thing is his defense isn’t good. Some of the issues could be mitigated by a late inning defensive replacement, like moving Triolo from first to second base or keeping Alika Williams on the roster as a middle infield defensive specialist, but it’s still a negative nonetheless.