Last week I wrote that it looked like the Pirates were going to stay internal for right field in 2014. Neal Huntington all but confirmed that in his meeting with the media today, as reported by Rob Biertempfel.
#pirates GM Huntington on right field situation: "We're leaning toward staying in-house."
— Rob Biertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) December 9, 2013
The Pirates traded for Jaff Decker a few weeks ago, adding one corner outfield option to the mix. They also tendered a contract to Travis Snider a week ago, giving them several options to work with. Currently the Pirates have Snider and Jose Tabata as the favorites to start the season in Pittsburgh, since both players are out of options. Andrew Lambo and Decker are alternatives, although both players have options remaining and could start the season in Triple-A.
By the end of July the Pirates could turn to Gregory Polanco to take over full time in right field. If one of the other right fielders really steps up before then, the Pirates could take their time with Polanco and give him a full year in Triple-A.
This decision makes sense, as the presence of Polanco means the Pirates would only be adding a right fielder for about 3-4 months. The quality of player they could get on a one year deal probably wouldn’t be better than the internal options. The benefit to going with the internal options is that the Pirates would have an interesting trade option next off-season if one of those players works out and Polanco is ready for the majors.