What will the Pirates do with these two? Both players are arbitration eligible and will probably be valued to make 8-10 million dollars each next year. Walker hit .269 this past season with 16 home runs. Alvarez batted .243 and swatted 27 home runs. Both players are not terribly great at defense. Actually, Pedro is flat out terrible at first base committing 23 errors. Are they worth the money that they are going to make? For the Pirates sake, no they aren’t.


At the end of the day, I think the Pirates will non-tender both players making them free agents. Who could be their replacements?

If they choose to look in the open market for first basemen, well there isn’t much there. Jung-ho Kang’s former KBO teammate, Byung-ho Park could be an option, but his posting bid will probably be more than Kang’s was, as he may be looked at as less of a risk than Kang did last year. Chris Davis is a free agent but would require more money than the Pirates want to spend. Maybe bring back Justin Morneau for a year at a cheap price? At the end of the day, if they don’t make a splash via trade, I think the Pirates will stick with Michael Morse. Morse will be under contract for the Pirates next year and could be a bridge to Josh Bell, who should be called up at some point in 2016.


As for Neil Walker’s replacement, it will be Josh Harrison. The Pirates had pleather of infielders this past year and should be pretty deep by the middle of next season as well. The only question mark is Jung-ho Kang, who won’t be ready for opening day due to his knee injury. Even when he gets back, can he be the same player? Knee injuries are extremely tough to get over. That being said, Alen Hanson will be called up at some point in 2016 and will play second base. The question is who will be the Pirates staring infielder in the time that Kang is still injured and Hanson is still in AAA? This player will have to be very cheap as he will only be a starter for a few months.

Sean Rodriguez could be an option to bring back as he could slide into a utility role when everyone is healthy/called up. Kelly Johnson would be an interesting addition for the Pirates as he can play both second and third base. He wouldn’t be all that expensive and would provide a little bit of left handed pop in the lineup hitting 14 home runs last year. I would prefer Kelly Johnson instead of Sean Rodriguez, as Johnson would be less prone to beat the crap out of a water cooler. Oh and yeah he can hit a baseball better too.

Don’t expect the Pirates to make any flashy moves on position players in the offseason when guys like Josh Bell and Alen Hanson will be called up in 2016. If the Pirates save the money that would’ve been spent on Alvarez and Walker, they could go out and get a starting pitcher or two. Right now the need for pitching is greater than the need for hitting.

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