This afternoon at Pirate City, Gaby Sanchez was fielding ground balls at third base, rotating with Pedro Alvarez. Sanchez got some time at third base last year during Spring Training, and played four innings at the position during the 2013 season. Clint Hurdle said that the Pirates would be looking at Sanchez more this Spring.
“We’re going to get him some innings at third,” Hurdle said. “That’s one of the things we want to do.”
One of the big concerns with the depth of this team is that there aren’t many options at third base behind Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates could shuffle their infield around to move Neil Walker or Jordy Mercer to third, but either move would put Clint Barmes in the starting lineup, which would be a big offensive downgrade from Alvarez. Josh Harrison could play third, but doesn’t have the bat you’d want. Sanchez wouldn’t be ideal, but he’s not as bad as some of the other options.
“We’re going to have a Plan B and a Plan C if something were to happen to Pedro,” Hurdle said. “Gaby worked very hard last year. There weren’t that many opportunities for innings. We’re planning on getting him more innings this Spring to see where he can take it.”
One benefit to getting Sanchez time at third base is that it gives the Pirates options if they eventually acquire an everyday first baseman. Sanchez is strong against left-handed pitching, but hasn’t had the same success against right-handers. If the Pirates were to add an everyday guy at first, then Sanchez could shift to third base and platoon with Alvarez, or serve as a bat off the bench against late inning left-handers.
For now, the depth behind Pedro Alvarez is weak, and it looks like Sanchez will be one of the options the Pirates could turn to.