It was reported this morning that the Pirates are talking to free agent Ryan Church, with one report stating that a deal is close. I wrote last week that the Pirates should explore internal options over signing a free agent. For some reason, I never considered Church while writing that post. Church has a very good corner outfield glove and a league average bat. He is essentially an average player when he is healthy.
Church would be an upgrade over anyone the Pirates have to play right field at this point. If signed, he should push Garrett Jones to first base and Jeff Clement to the bench, a role he is best suited for. That would provide a marginal improvement to the Pirates lineup. Church is a much more interesting option to me than Rick Ankiel or Xavier Nady.
UPDATE (7:45 PM): Dejan reports that the Pirates have agreed to terms with Church. His signing will depend on the results of a physical later in the week. Due to his past injury issues, that physical will be significant.
Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.