All was quiet for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Winter Meetings, but general manager Neal Huntington did say that the team may look to add a fourth outfielder.
The Pittsburgh Priates architect also let be known that the team would be comfortable with Adam Frazier and Sean Rodriguez getting starts in the outfield as well, so a move isn’t necessarily on the horizon.
If the Bucs do choose to add, who could the possibly be looking at?
Guys like Jarrod Dyson, Cameron Maybin, Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis, Seth Smith and others would be nice additions, but they all are likely out of the Pirates price range as each will get $4-5 million or more.
That shortens the list a lot, but here are three options that Huntington could consider that would require a big investment.
Raburn, a 12-year vet has made stops in Detroit, Cleveland, Colorado and Washington in his career and one thing he has always been able to do is hit left-handed pitching.
He only posted a line of .262/.304/.431 last season, with only two homers and six RBI in 65 at bats in Washington. However, Raburn posted a .325/.415/.589 line vs. southpaws in 2015 for Cleveland. That’s a 1.004 OPS vs. LHP compared to a .467 vs. RHP.
The numbers weren’t as great in 2016 with Colorado, but Raburn still had an .845 OPS against lefties compared to a .615 mark against righties. He would be the ideal complement to Gregory Polanco in right field as Raburn could get most of the starts against left-handed pitching.
And even more attractive to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Raburn can likely be had for around $1 million per year, maybe less.
Ethier is 35, but can still swing the bat a bit.
He’s a risk due to the fact that he has appeared in just 38 regular-season games the past two seasons due in large part to back issues. What’s funny is that due to the injuries, Ethier has collected six postseason hits the past two years compared to just 13 regular-season hits. If healthy though, Ethier could be a nice addition to the Pirates bench.
He is a lifetime .285 hitter, with 162 career home runs. He still hits right-handed pitching very well, owning a career .303/.382/.506 line.
Again it would be risky given the health problems, but if healthy, Ethier could be had on a cheap one-year, incentive laden deal.
Saunders comes with a little bit of pop in his bat and after getting bought out by the Philadelphia Phillies, is a free agent who the Pirates could likely sign in the $2-4 million range.
That still may be out of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ budget, but he could be worth a look if the price is right.
He was an all-star in 2016 when he hit 24 homers for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Saunders is a nine-year vet who doesn’t have great career numbers, owning a .232/.305/.397 career line.
But he’s just a season removed from a career year and could be worth taking a flyer on.
He’s a left-handed hitting outfielder, which the Pirates could use and could hit 15-20 homers with some decent gap power.
He’s not the greatest of options, but could come at a decent price and could deliver the Matt Joyce-type of season on a one-year deal.