The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have signed third baseman David Freese to a one-year contract worth $3M. Pitcher Jesse Biddle has been designated for assignment to make room for him on the 40-man roster. The 32-year-old Freese spent last season with the Los Angeles Angels, where he hit .257/.323/.420 in 121 games.

Freese took quite a pay cut to sign with the Pirates (he made $6.425M last year), but that’s not unusual for someone signing this far into Spring Training. He will get the Opening Day nod for the Pirates at third base, which will allow the team to take a cautious approach with Jung-ho Kang’s return. Recent quotes have Kang returning mid-to-late April. Reports from yesterday on his progress were strong, with an extended infield practice, with throws to both bases, as well as work in the batting cages off live pitching.

Freese had his best season in 2012, when he was an All-Star for the St Louis Cardinals. He posted a career-best .839 OPS that year, but his stats haven’t been near that level in the three seasons since. After a .721 OPS for the Cardinals in 2013, he posted a combined .723 OPS in two seasons with the Angels. That 2012 season was also his best year defensively according to dWARΒ (0.5), and he’s been slightly below average since then.

Biddle is going to miss the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, so it’s very possible the Pirates could get him through waivers and keep him on the minor league disabled list all season. His prospect status was falling before the injury, though he was battling through injuries during the 2015 season. The Pirates acquired the 24-year-old lefty for a minor league reliever, so if they do lose him on waivers, the cost was minimal.

UPDATE 7:22 PM: Update from Tim Williams…

I just spoke with Neal Huntington about the move, and the fallout with the rest of the roster. Here is the transcript:

What is Freese’s role on the team?

“David comes in obviously as an established veteran Major League right-handed bat that can jump right in at third base for the time that Kang is out of action. Provides us with a quality option on those days where Kang may need a day over the course of a season, as he returns to full health, and we work to keep hitters strong for the entire season. Once Kang returns, our process is David can slide across and be the right-handed part of the first base platoon. He’s played a little bit of first base in the past. We do anticipate that he’ll be able to make that transition over there. And then obviously he’s available if Kang does take longer than we expect. If it’s longer than late-to-mid April, we’ve got an incredible insurance policy there. He’s a veteran right-handed bat that’s been a winner, that’s been on championship calibre clubs, and wants to be a Pirate. Wants to join this group and help them take that next step forward.”

What happens to Morse and Rogers when Kang returns?

“Out of Spring Training, the anticipation is that Kang will be on the DL, Freese will be at third, Morse will be in that right-handed platoon situation. As we move forward, we’ll see how the club comes together. Morse is absolutely still in the picture immediately, and could be longer-term. Jason Rogers and the other guys are in competition to make the club. There’s still a couple of open spots on that bench out of Spring Training. Once everybody gets healthy, that obviously gets squeezed a little bit, and we’ll have a decision to make by then. But you and I both know that something else will pop up between now and then, and opportunities will exist elsewhere.”

Is there something they saw in camp (Jason Rogers at 3B, Alen Hanson at 2B) that led to this signing?

“No. This has been an ongoing conversation, and we finally found that common middle ground. That common financial middle ground that we talk about. We like a lot of what we’ve seen out of Alen. We like what we’ve seen out of Jason. We just felt with where we are in the win curve, this is a good short-term driven move for us and gives us an established Major League third baseman to come in and play the position early. We still like Jason, still feel that he’s going to help us this year, and still believe Alen has a great Major League future. But again, with where we are on the win curve, this was an awfully tough situation for us to pass up. We felt good about it, and felt like David is a very good addition to our club, not only in the short-term, but also over the course of the season.”

Can the team carry Morse and Rogers off the bench without sacrificing too much defense?

“We’ll have to see exactly where we are once Kang gets healthy. Out of the gate, we can absolutely carry both, because one can be the right-handed option at first base. And we do like what we’ve seen out of Jason at third base, and feel like he can fill a role there. We just felt like David Freese made us better, in the short-term and over the course of a season. Once Kang gets healthy, we’ll have to see where everybody else is health wise, the configuration of the bench, who is playing well, who is healthy, and who fits, and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Out of the gate, certainly, we feel like both of those guys will make the club. You could still see Goebbert, you could still see Cole Figueroa, Matt Joyce, Florimon. Alen Hanson could even fit in that role, depending upon the configuration of that bench, and what we want to take north and the options that Clint’s looking for to put himself in position to have the weapons off the bench to win some games, and also provide our guys with chances to catch their breath and stay strong.”

When do they expect Kang to return?

“We’re still late-to-mid April. And that hasn’t changed at all. There really hasn’t been anything in Spring Training that we’ve seen out of Kang, or in the other question Hanson or Rogers, that prompted us to make this move. This is just a move where we are in the win curve, and the protection it brings us, the quality veteran Major Leaguer that it brings us. We felt like it was the right move to make. Kang, we’re still projecting mid-to-late April. He wants to come back earlier. If he comes back mid-to-late April, then we’ve had David Freese at third base for a good chunk of time. If there’s a setback, then we’ve got an established Major League ready third baseman ready to step in for a longer period of time.”

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215 COMMENTS

  1. Wonder if the Pirates were in on
    Uribe – MLBTR had some interesting info – evidently the Indians had their choice and took Uribe – 5 years older and $1M more…
    Will be interesting to compare Freese and Uribe as the season progresses.

    Still think the disses Hanson – will be interesting to see how he handles it…

    • I don’t see this as a dis on Hanson – it seems apparent that he’s not quite ready for the bigs. I’ll eat crow if I’m wrong here, but I honestly think he’ll be up when he’s ready. In the meanwhile we have a solid veteran to start the season who will become a nice addition to the bench later on. I can’t stress enough how important depth is.

      • What am I missing – he has hit well this ST – fielded well – and stolen a few bases. Would seem to be a very good option at lead off. The only thing that seems weak is his hitting from the right hand side,

        • I don’t think you’re missing anything. I totally agree he looks great in spring training. We have to be careful not to put too much faith in a small sample size and production that likely equates to a “hot streak”. Remember how Polanco raked the ball when he first came up, only to struggle soon after. Looking at Hanson’s performance last year, I could see him doing the same. I’m fairly certain his glove and baserunnimg are ready but his bat is not, so why rush him up if there’s a better bat ready to start the season? Let him start in Indy and get ABs every game til he’s ready. And if he hits .400 down there I’ll personally send you an apology and a “I’ll never doubt you again” message!

  2. Just heard a live interview with Freese on 93.7. Other than the obligatory comments about his excitement to join a winning organization that he respects he dropped in some interesting comments. He spent the winter trying to find a starting position fit in a multiyear deal. There were discussions with many teams. Those positions got filled by other signings so this option became his best option. He said NH really worked his agent. He will play third until Kang returns, then play there, first, and pinch hit….wherever he can help out. I think we got a bargain and a proven major league hitter and I don’t think he blocks anybody. This helps us win out of the gate.

    • I’m not dissing this move but the other 9 related ones that did not make sense. I would of been happy with an SP and Freese.

      • My personal opinion is that the Bucs have been trying to dump Michael Morse since PirateFest, when he said Walker would be missed because he was a team leader. With no takers, they are stuck with too many bodies at first….none of them particularly exciting. Let’s hope Morse has a strong start, provides value and becomes a potential trade chip.

  3. OK, anybody that’s been watching baseball for a while should know better than to put too much faith in spring training numbers. It’s great to see Hanson and Harold Ramirez handling the bat so well; but be careful not to get too starry eyed about that. They’re both promising prospects, but make no mistake, they’re still PROSPECTS. Hanson has improved every season and appears to be on track to be a solid ML player, but he’s not there yet. Right now, Freese is a better option on the big league roster, that’s why he was brought in. It’s irrational to bitch about the Pirates starting the season with Hanson in AAA, because now they have a better option. Cole Tucker is a top-flight prospect as well…should we be crying for him to be on the ML team? No, because he’s still developing, just like Hanson. So now, when Kang returns, and even when Hanson gets the call, the bench is way better with Freese on it, and the depth is even greater knowing we have the bat of Rodgers to call up if needed. How important is depth to the Bucs? One needs to only look back to the disastrous stretch two seasons ago when they had all those injuries and were forced to start a bunch of subpar players. Could the Bucs have done better this offseason? I’d say yes, but I don’t think it’s as bad as a lot of folks think. I’m especially perplexed by the negativity surrounding the Niese deal. I’ve been watching the guy for years, and he’s been a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter for years. And the contract he has is really team friendly. It bothers me that people keep dismissing his presence by saying we have no #3 starter. On this team I think he certainly can fill hat spot.
    Believe me, I want a World Series as badly as anyone, but the best chance to get there isn’t by mortgaging the future and overspending on guys that won’t produce on the tail end of their contracts. Spending a ton of cash doesn’t guarantee a championship, and there’s plenty of examples of teams that have done that and made the postseason only to get bounced right away. Because once you make the playoffs, all bets are off (ask the 2015 Dodgers). Besides, the Bucs aren’t in a financial position to be able to cover for a bad contract. The best way to win a championship is to build a team that is in the mix every season, making the playoffs in many of those years, and giving yourselves multiple chances to gonthe distance. The Pirates have done just that.

  4. I just realized why they signed Freeze Pop. It was to remind Cole of the two homers he hit off him in the playoff game three years ago.

  5. This was a solid baseball. The worst-case scenario, in regards to fallout from this signing, is we gain more depth by moving Rogers down to AAA to play more 3b. Some complain when the PBC doesn’t spend money and others complain when the team does.
    There is no downside to this trade. Rogers can help us next year too once Morse’s contract expires. Good move!

  6. Just my opinion but this is a garbage signing. I hate this guy. He can’t hit anymore and his defense isn’t all that great. He is ALWAYS hurt and I doubt he ever gets back to 2011-2012 numbers.

  7. would anybody take a flyer on Alfredo Simon, he’s still an FA. Had a rough year last year, but is one year removed from being an all-star

      • He is likely a pretty bad guy…very fair point. How about Kyle Lohse, perhaps on a minor league deal or ST invite.

        • I like that idea. Minor league deal if he wants a chance at one more year in the sun, though im also confident he’s likely not great.

  8. It’s a great move for little cost. I don’t understand why every move at this point is bad unless it makes up for the whole offseason-should the pirates stop improving their team because of a couple bad transactions. If he’s moves to first base his defense is likely better than Morse and arguably his hitting is as well. In an off-year for 2015 he still hit 270 against righties he’s a great hedge against Jaso never getting off the ground at first – from what I’m reading it’s a huge work in progress. If Freese is horrible just throw him in the trash, he was barely more expensive than SRod.

  9. I feel like this says more about FO’s feelings about Morse (they don’t like/trust him) than it does about Rogers. They paid a price for Rogers and definitely like his bat — and if they get his peak years also at pre-arb price in 2017-19 and can develop him as RH 1B/3B, that’ll play.

    Freese doesn’t much move the needle on 2016 though.

  10. Here would be my lineup with Kang:

    Polanco
    Jaso
    McCutchen
    Kang
    Marte
    Harrison
    Cervelli
    Mercer

    or

    Polanco
    Harrison
    McCutchen
    Kang
    Marte
    Freese
    Cervelli
    Mercer

    Bench: Morse, Stewart, Rodriguez, Rogers

    I like it. I like it alot. I think thats a strong lineup either way.

      • Kang…Ive been saying this since last year. Kang at SS gives the team its strongest lineup. Who knows if he would or could handle the spot now once he’s back….I think he could still in a part time capacity. If he could it would give them their strongest lineup because then Freese could play 3rd.

        Polanco
        Jaso
        McCutchen
        Kang
        Marte
        Freese
        Cervelli
        Harrison

        I would put that lineup on paper against the Cubs or anybody else. Its not realistic on a regular basis but nice to know it could be set up that way. It will be on Jordy to find himself at the plate before July this year.

      • Thats only true if you want a league average hitter at backup SS.

        We do have multiple quality backup SS on defense, but they all are questionable on offense. Thats not super rare, but it is what it is.

      • Wasting any OBP Cervelli brings by throwing him that low. Much as Harrison has hit leadoff, he’s a poor fit there. Id throw Polanco at the 1 and throw Harrison 8th.

  11. Freese is uninspiring but makes a certain amount of sense if you look at it the right way. A known quantity / ‘professional hitter’ but sticking him at 1B (eventually) seems like pressing your luck. More than anything it shows FO’s lack of faith in Morse.

    As for Rogers, I always got the sense he was someone the FO coveted and simply jumped at the opportunity to acquire when it was presented. The bat seems legit but he has no immediate fit — but as cost-controlled bat for theoretically peak years in 2017-19 he’s still a good asset.

  12. I have mixed feelings about this signing….
    (1) It appears to be another example of the Pirates not trusting their own prospects (in this case Hanson) and instead sign a retread on the downward slide of his career. I can’t say I am surprised however.
    (2) The contract for Freese isn’t bad, but why did we trade Broxton and Supak for Rogers then? That trade is already looking as dumb as it was when it was first announced. Rogers can’t play third base, and isn’t needed at first base. So, what will be his role?
    (3) This move doesn’t address the biggest issue – the rotation.
    (4) When you add up what the team is paying for Rogers, Freese, Rodriguez, Stewart, Vogelsong, and Niese, we could have signed a very good #3 starter.

    • #2 is the biggest, IMO.

      Rogers isn’t a 3rd baseman, not an OF, and he’s not supplanting anyone at first.

      I think he’s a guy who has value, but on the right club…and this club isn’t it.

      I’m not concerned with him getting reps over Hanson. He’s a mid season call up as most rookies the Pirates control are. If Kang is back and playing well, Freese can be dealt at the deadline. Barring injury, I’d be shocked to see him finish the season with the team…but, for a steady hand you need a month or two out of, the Pirates did well in signing him.

    • Rogers is controlled for several years and can work at first with Bell in future seasons until Bell proves capable of everyday duties. Broxton didn’t have any shot staying in the organization long term by virtue of being sandwich between the MLB outfield and Meadows and Ramirez. Supak could make the trade look bad down the road though.

      • Exactly regarding Broxton. He had too much swing and miss in his game and Supak had shown himself to be a lottery ticket. Keller and he were taken at the same time and Keller turned into a much more predictable prospect.

    • Agree with every one of these points, except maybe for the reasoning behind #1.
      This Freese signing, in and of itself, has no downside and exactly the kind of move a club contending for a Division title without it’s starter for a month or so should do.
      Which makes the rotation choices – even considering the beefing of the bullpen – all the more strange. There’s no question that money and/or prospects were available to make a considerable upgrade, or at the very least one with upside.

      • Yes and to bring in Nicasio as bullpen help and suddenly now say he is an option as a starter doesn’t make sense. Niese and Vogelsong were you starting options. Now since IMO they looked at what they bought and it doesn’t look right they are scrambling. This off season has me questioning their ability (PBC).

        • Only problem i have with this statement is that you say they brought him in to help the bullpen, but they did mention his starting ability almost from the day he inked the deal.

          Its very possible, much as its not a tremendous option, they didnt sign him only to help the bullpen and say him as possible rotation depth. Many of us just assumed he was pure bullpen material.

          • The most egregious decision of the winter might just end up being scared off of Mat Latos.

            I mean, holy shit would this rotation look different with him in the fold. In my opinion, if Hurdle isvthe manager everyone says he is, isn’t this *exactly* the type of value move you should be making?

            • I think we all thought i was for sure. The talent made sense and the attitude issues didnt seem over the top bad.

              I continue to, with regards to Latos’s value in general, wonder why his valued cratered to where it did. Every single SP in that market got large deals, or at least really nice deals for their record, but him. We can only speculate as to why, but it’d be fascinating to sit with 3-5 GMs and ask where the hell Latos’s market value went.

              For PGH, what caused us to be wary of him at 5 million? I cant imagine he wasnt on the radar for the usual reasons of stuff+poor year last year+good periphs.

  13. I am stunned that anybody thinks this a bad pickup given the price. His numbers last year 257/322/420…743 OPS with 14 homers.

    For the record for those of you who equate him to Brandon Inge in his year prior to coming with the Bucs:

    226/286/389…675 OPS with 11 homers

    Freese last year was much closer to Neil Walker than Brandon Inge.

    • Oh and when you put it contextually, it was better than Harrison last year. Our other 3rd baseman. So what are we talking about here?

  14. Awesome pickup. A solid, if unspectacular player who should have decent value at the trade deadline.

    He’s making S-Rod money and has averaged 2.0 WAR/year for the last 5 seasons.

    For all the folks mistakenly making Inge comparisons, Brandon put up less the 1.1 WAR/year in the five seasons before the Pirates signed him.

  15. still have no backup shortstop, we’ll have 3 people whom can play 3rd in a month and 5 whom can play first…..let the lopsided infield situation continue!

  16. I just figured out why I hate this signing. Freese is a former Ratbird. I don’t want no stinking Ratbird on this team.

    It’d be like the Steelers signing Terrell Suggs (if he was a FA) to backup at LB.

    Red bird. Black Bird. Ugh.

    πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  17. I have a theory, which some may have stated previously. This move tells me that they definitely plan on shortening sp outings. Basically everyone on the bench can hit, so I could see more double switches a little earlier than we are used to. That way, the pitcher only bats like twice and the rest of the game we basically have a dh. Just my .02

    • I could see this as being part of their plan given the focus on depth and relievers. It actually makes a lot of sense, and could be their next innovation.

    • Don’t know if that’s a strategy, but that’s what will likely happen 3 out of 5 days. Their third best starter is Nicasio. But he is in the bullpen. Sigh.

    • That has essentially been happening for a few years now. It’s not a coincidence teams with the best bullpens are also the one’s with the best W/L records.

  18. I think PBC is starting to panic with what garbage they brought in over the winter. This is a desperate attempt to rectify some of the moves. They looked at what these guys were doing and yelled HELP! I would rather had Pedro at 3 base than what we brought in. And that’s a complete about face from my earlier position. I feel like a putz. Please no more spins on these new acquisitions. Quality far out weighs quantity.

    • I’d have rather they put all of this money they spent on SRod, Jaso, Freese and Vogelsong towards a GOOD SP.

      Not having a viable #3 SP will hurt them more than not having another bench piece.

      I love NH, but he has had a lousy offseason, IMHO.

      • I’d agree, but unfortunately you can’t get a good starting pitching for that amount of money.

        One important point Huntington made is that they are committed to keeping players rested, and Freese helps with that–maybe a couple days per week at 3B and a couple days as the RH platoon at 1B. That allows Kang, Freese, and Jaso to all play enough to stay sharp but rest enough to stay strong.

        • But that $11 mil (I think that’s the total amount) could’ve been put TOWARDS getting a good SP in here.

          That is what I meant.

          Oh well…I guess I have to trust NH….he never has won an offseason yet and the seasons have turned out okay.

          πŸ™‚

          • Who? When guys like Happ and Kennedy are getting multi-year deals with AAV’s of $13M and higher, I don’t think we could have signed a good pitcher on a short-term deal.

            Perhaps we could deal for a guy like Cashner, but that means giving up quality prospects.

          • The point is well taken and they have the money for a reliable starter. I think the assembly of this team this off season has been extremely poor.

      • I think NH is an arrogant nimrod. How can you love him? He made good moves but he also has made poor ones. His roster construction has been weak and he has had some luck. I don’t think I can use the biblical analogy of nimrod to describe NH. But if you consider the Tower of Babel and Nimrod’s influence than maybe it works. But you love him.

      • They feel, and the numbers support them, that they can coach guys up without spending top dollar. Right or wrong, we’ll see.

  19. Love this signing, was wondering if the Pirates would pick him up. Adds significant depth to lineup and bench. Great signing. He should be able to chip in 10+ homers as well

      • His numbers are comparable to Neil Walker last year….yeah…Brandon Inge. There have been alot of good players who didnt sign until late. Pedro is still a decent player at the plate, just got signed. Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson…lots of guys havent gotten signed till just a few days ago. This FA has moved very slowly.

  20. Good bench guy. Knows how to win.

    Makes the rest of the bench have to excel to keep spot on team, though I’m not sure that applies to Sean Rodriguez for some reason.

  21. And can someone explain to me why we have a farm system?

    Freese is a better option than Hanson?

    Why do we waste a roster spot on Hanson?

    Save Nutting a ton of money and just go out and sign the Sean Hurdles and the David Freezes and the John Jasso’s and the Matt Joyces and Cole Figure’s and the Brandon Inges and the Corey Harts and the Felix Pies and the beat goes on!

    • Freese put up better numbers in MLB last year than Hanson did in AAA. Plus he has actual MLB experience. You may be better off rooting for the Yanks or the BoSox with bigger wallets.

        • Just stop. You’re like a spoiled child that didn’t get his way. Hanson will be up when he’s ready. Glasnow will be up when he’s ready. Just like Polanco, Cole, etc were up when they were ready (ish). Hanson should not be on this team opening day. He just shouldn’t be. You can bitch about it all you want, but you are wrong. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.

          • I totally agree with you Adam. Bruce needs to go to a Steeler forum where perhaps he is somewhat knowledgable about the subject matter.

        • He never said put Hanson on waivers, all he said was Freese is the better player and therefore Freese should be on the ML Roster over Hanson.

        • OK so now we are waiving a what, 22 yr old MI with some promise. I don’t get this put Hanson on the team stuff. He’s young and talented but yet to be consistent. Here’s David Freese who has a nice little MLB career brought in on a cheap salary. Bottom line is obviously they , and most others, think Freese is the better option.

            • Well if we are going off spring training numbers then might as well waive cutch, Harrison, bell, Cervelli, rogers, and Stewart as well!

              • No – but there were a ton of folks who said Lambo’s ST numbers were so bad he should be banished. Make up your mind – ST stats matter or the don’t. Lambo is going to be the next Brandon Moss – but the SETTLERS will rationalize and move on

                • Hey I’m a Lambo fan til the day I die. But his deal was he finally earned himself a look and he blew it. Next spring he blew it again but they gave him the benefit of the doubt and he made the 25 man roster. He stumbled out of the gate and then ended up hurt. He was given more than one chance and they tried to sneak him thru waivers and lost him. I don’t remember everyone wanting him “banished” , but you can’t really say the guy ever ran with his opportunity’s.

        • Since when has Hanson worthless?

          He’s not ready yet, or we had a better option to sign Friese. Just because we didn’t utilize him yet, doesn’t assume him into the he sucks category. You’re ridiculous old man, yet act like a self entitled 8 year old. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the two posts below yours are upvoted 15-16 times, and yours have 0. You’re sure in the minority with your thinking. You’re the bcmferren of this site, only he can actually be comical at times.

    • Yeah, how dare they keep doing those things that have resulted in playoff birth caliber seasons?!!!!

      • Would rather have a team that makes the postseason every year – the Cardinals or wins the WS every other year – the SF Giants. I am not a SETTLER – you and your friends can count wins and wild card game appearances I want a FLAG – a division flag – a league FLAT – a WS FLAG. 36 years and counting my friend.

        • Considering the playoffs are more of a crapshoot than a test to see who truly has the best team, I’ll choose to keep doing what needs to be done to give team the best chance for sustained success and hope they get hot one of these October’s.

          • And if/when the Pirates DO make/win a World Series, you won’t be giving Huntington any more credit than you are now, right?

            It’s a crap shoot after all, right?

            Huntington will simply get lucky, right?

            • I don’t think NH could be thought of more highly later than he is now by me, NMR. He has distinguished himself as the best GM in Pirates last 40 years. Winning WS seems to be a logical next step in Pirates journey to me.

              • I appreciate the reply, Scott.

                I suppose where we differ is that I don’t see performance as static, in any walk of life. The 2016 Pirates can take a step back, due in part to the decisions Huntington has made over the past year, and it wouldn’t change my overall opinion of his performance. That’s what sustained success earns a man. I would, however, most likely think that his performance in that given year was below expectation.

                Just the same, if the Pirates were to do the opposite and take a step *forward*, you can be damn sure I’ll give more credit where it’s due.

      • C’mon man, Bruce just wants to whine….oops, I mean win. That is just Sooo important to his outlook on life.

    • Dumbest post ever topped right there Bruce nice job. Every post season which you so often plead for there are players just like those you list who become the World Series heroes. Just relax dude. Nothing is ever perfect but put your team in a POSITION to succeed is all NH needs to do and he’s doing that.

    • I may be way off here but I’m think if he goes on the 60 DL you burn service time and pay ML salary.

  22. Good pickup. Good depth. Reliable and a proven big leaguer. Makes contact and puts the ball in play. I’m surprised he was available. What’s not to like.

    • I am with you FOO – this is the very definition of Dumpster Diving. And show how this team looks at prospects. Why not Put Hanson on second and Jay Hay on third and save the $3M. SMH

      • Wait, so now we’re complaining when they spend money in order to add more depth at the expense of no one. Depth is good.

        • except this is not depth – read the article – Freese is expected to play third while we wait on Kang – and that leaves Harrison – the one season wonder at second. Hanson is out – he goes to Indy and gets to pound salt – even though he has been one of the best players in ST to this point.

          • Hanson was below average in Winter Ball he was average last year. I think I would look at those 700 ABs above the 15-20 he has had so far this spring. Anyways if he is any good he would never get the call until at least June. its the Pirate way!

          • It’s not like we traded Freese for Hanson. Hanson hasn’t had a major league at bat and that is better than a ‘one season wonder’. OK. Not to mention that Harrison’s 2015 (his non ‘one season wonder’ year) his slash line was far superior than Hansons in AAA.

        • depth is good where we need depth- outfield and shortstop. We signed Joyce, still have two piles of trash to back up Mercer

            • If Cole Figeroa and Pedro Florimon aren’t “baseball equivalent value” piles of trash, then i don’t know what is. They bring nothing useful to our roster, any time they are in the game, we have a slightly less chance of winning than if Mercer was playing. They are both worse hitters than Sean Rodriguez, neither are good baserunners or have any power. All they can do is field…..nothing else. No other tools. A 1 tool player is indeed- a pile of trash.

    • You are wrong Foo. Relax. Adding Freese makes us a better team with more depth . Rogers will get his opportunities.

  23. David Freese last year had a .743 OPS.

    Jason Rogers last year had an .808 OPS.

    I’m sorry, I don’t see the need for Mr Freese other than the fact that he is a better fielding 3bman.

    • The last half sentence is kind of a big deal. I think Rogers was looking non awful at 3B, but he also wasnt looking more than “he aint Pedro”.

      If you gotta pick a stopgap option for 2-3 weeks until Kang arrives, Freese is at least more consistent in what he does. Fine defense, a non useless bat.

      Hell, I like Rogers and wanted him to get a shot and i think he has to be in Indy now.

        • Saying he is better than Rogers is the entire argument. Its a discussion of who is better.

          Jason Rogers has to hit like he did last year, or he’s not clearly better. Thats a risk, and a bigger one than assuming Freese forgot how to play adequate defense.

          His defense is, or is projected to be, a non marginal amount better than Rogers.

        • He went from being above average to average. Rodgers if he was your man would be the worst 3B in the league by far unless Pedro started playing third again. You can’t put a guy at third who can’t make a play on a bunt

      • Freese also has an .870+ OPS in a bunch of postseason AB although he had the one monster offseason with two MVPs. He’s gotten to play in a lot of big games. Nothing wrong with that. Nice to have a 3B you can pencil in for a 100 ops+ and free Harrison up to move around once Kang comes back.

        • His offense is not. The bat has a track record of steady production. Very steady production.

          And Rogers was never really a 3B. Freese at least was. Freese is a below average defender, where Rogers is likely abysmal. It’s an upgrade on defense for sure, and it’s a much more certain bat, even if the upside is lower (which, honestly, I’m not convinced the upside *is* lower).

          • It’s important to note that I don’t think this makes Rogers irrelevant. What it does do, however, is give him a chance to work on 3B defense at AAA to make him a more versatile bench option moving forward, while also refining the bat a bit. Rogers doesn’t have to be a bench bat this year to justify that deal if he becomes an even better one next season due to the extra time in AAA working on some things.

            • The Rogers move was a HUGE mistake – gave up way too much for a AAAA player – this playing around at the margins is idiotic – seems like a perverted version of Fantasy Baseball. Play the kids – Frazier – Hanson – Moroff – Diaz.

              Lambo is batting over .400 with 2 HRs….

            • But this is exactly what is wrong with what seems to be the strategy. If you are going to put Rogers at third in Indy then you have fewer at bats for Moroff and Frazier and Hanson – and you back up guys in the lower minors.

              • Rodgers is never going to play third, He just isn’t good enough. He will go back to being a 1B or an OF. As for the bad trade did they really give up anything of value? A low A player who can’t find the plate.

                • Mitch Keller couldn’t find the play either till this year. Rodgers was a mistake clearly unless you were sure he’ll compete for a spot. Then the team doesn’t make it a priority to work him at a spot? Screams mistake to me. I love the Freese signing because the truth is this frees Kang up to compete with Jordy who is the weakest of the three players, but sneaky of Neil to not even address that concept keeping Jordys confidence high. Well done NH.

                  • Keller’s BB was over 15% last year. In my opinion, Kang will not play SS, his rang wasn’t that good before his injury.

                • Years 18-19 6.8% walks. Check out the pitchers ahead of him in Tim’s PPG. 6.8% looks good. From his era, it looks like he was getting to much of the plate, as any 18-19 yr old would do. Pirates gave up on him to quickly.

            • We have infielders in the minors that are doing the exact same thing, and their not 27yrs old for our 16th and 46th prospects in a much better farm system.

    • I think it’s because he’s a better fielding 3bman. But of the options, I’d rather have Hansen.

    • I don’t thing Rogers had that many AB’S to really compare, I could be wrong. My problem is, why give up prospects for Rogers and not have him on your 25? Trading a 19 yr old with a 4.5 grade (Trey Supak) and what could have been your fourth outfielder for someone you may send down? I know Supak may have been covered by a lot of other pitchers, but Broxton could have been the fourth outfielder. Speed, power and great defender for someone that is not even average at any position. And Supak signed for $1m in 2014. Really didn’t get a good look at him. If your going to trade for a bat, the Pirates should have look at a lefty. They only have two lefty’s on their team. (Polanco and Jano.)

  24. Love this signing. Fairly cheap for a veteran and he should still have some decent baseball left in him yet. Fill a hole for awhile then great bench piece after. Being able to play first and being RH can’t look good for Morse.

  25. What I like about this is, while this is a perfectly fine bench/depth signing, the uneducated portion of our fanbase will eat it up. They’ll say things like how he’s a “proven winner” who will bring a “winning culture to the clubhouse” and stupid bullshit like that. I fully expect a Rob Rossi column tomorrow fawning over how he’s going to bring the “Cardinal Way” to Pittsburgh.

    • That has me laughing, and with you, not at you. You are probably not far off the mark about the ” stupid bs “,

    • GM Huntington just laid up a load of that BS in the interview with Tim just posted at 7:22….see ” established veteran ….winner…championship caliber club.”
      I like the move because we are better tonight, but when I add up the bench and bullpen dollars plus Vogelsong and Niese I have to believe we could have done a better job with the starting pitching this offseason.

      • They dont have to be connected. You can say that they should have done more with starting pitching while also saying that this was a good signing for the teams depth and the lineup. Maybe theyll realize that Locke/Vogelsong arent good enough and make another move.

        • I agree….this is a decent signing but they just did not do enough to strengthen the starting pitching out of the gate. Unless there are injuries, I think we have an excess of arms in the bullpen and dollars spent there and at the first and third base positions.

    • what the heck does the ‘low cost’ matter to a fan?! Are my tickets/parking/food/drink going to be cheaper? So we replaced a perennial 25-30hr guy (that murders St Louis pitching) at $8m for 3 guys at $15m (morse/jaso/freese) that will not sniff 30hrs collectively…maybe Alvarez would have improved at 1b with a second year? maybe the NL adopts the DH in 2017?

      • Here’s why it should matter to you as a fan, first and foremost, it gives the team the financial flexibility to trade for help in-season in the event of injury or poor performance. Second, none of the guys you mentioned will block Bell from coming up once he shows he’s ready to be the every day 1B. And lastly, by keeping payroll costs down, your tickets/parking/food/drink are in fact cheaper than almost every other MLB team. I would venture to say Pittsburgh provides the best quality baseball experience for the money in the known universe!

        • Scott, please do not use the “F” words with me as I will immediately brand you an “A” word (Apologist)….that being said,Bell is not going to be an upgrade over Alvarez this year (maybe in coming years?) and I am greatly concerned to see this team shedding payroll after a 98 win season in which we averaged almost 30k fans per at the turnstiles (as this means to me we may have approached this team’s payroll threshold (around $95m which will not cut it in the upcoming years in our division))…also, while ticket prices are below average, parking/food/drink are average or maybe even slightly above compared to other parks I have been to…

          • Feel free to label me an Apologist. I’m admittedly a Polyanna when it comes to the Pirates. I happen to believe spending on player salaries doesn’t equate to wins on the field in today’s MLB. And I will continue to judge the Pirates ownership and front office effectiveness on the Pirates win/loss record first, and development of young talent second.

            As for Pedro vs Bell, it certainly appears Bell being more of a contact, high OBP type player is what the Pirates brass values most in hitters. The HR or strikeout types like Pedro are out of season so to speak. And considering the Royals won the WS with this approach, it’s hard to argue they’re wrong.

            • $112,857,025 vs $90,303,000
              $129,470,175 vs $96,300,000

              Above shows you the payroll differences between the KC Royals and the Bucs from 2015 and 2016. Maybe an extra $20m gets you a frontline starter or impact everyday player that maybe helps get us past the wildcard game and a World Championship?

              $20m keeps Walker at 2b and Pedro at 1B part time and their 50 HRs….I do wonder (since Cutch is OK with the 2 hole) now what a Cutch-Alvarez-Marte or Cutch-Walker-Marte lineup may have created….What if Alvarez needed another year at 1B (ala Kevin Young) to better stabilize his fielding skills? Jaso has 2 errors at 1b this spring, Pedro? None.

              While I am excited about what Bell might bring to the big league team – he is still an unknown commodity with no MLB at bats

              • IMO, you’re not seeing the forest for the trees. The payroll figures you referenced are irrelevant towards actual results given the Pirates won more games than Royals. To contend the Pirates would be able to get a better #1 SP than Cole to start the WC game is pretty crazy. The Pirates aren’t ever going to enter the market for guys like Price or Greinke, nor should they.

                The bottom line is the number of victories the Pirates have over the last few seasons show what they are doing works. We’ll find out together if the changes away from Alvarez and Walker will also work soon enough.

            • So Scott, still think the Bucs did a good job tooling in the off-season now that we are a few months in?

              • Certainly not with regard to SP, but in fairness, Liriano and Cole have been unforeseen disappointments. Same can be said for bullpen.

                Offensively, the team has exceeded expectations. Except for Cutch. Maybe he can turn it around and carry team for a month or two?

                • Out of the guys you mention, much less concerned about Cutch once he’s healthy….cole and liriano will probably bounce back – but, Locke is due for a slide and Niese/Nicasio has been garbage reclamation projects (with Niese costing us a well above avg 2b)…I think huntington did a piss poor job with the bullpen this season and with putting together even a mediocre starting core….

  26. Bye Felicia, I mean Rodgers, I mean Morse, ok no one is leaving, but the spending this year on relievers and trades have been somewhat bizarre this off season.

  27. He’s a pretty steady 2 WAR starter, not a great defender (and with age, he’s likely to be below average this year after a couple years hovering right around average, scouting is harder on his glove than numbers, too), but a consistently above-average bat that plays fine at the position. He’s basically your typical Major League average 3B, and that will be a heck of a bench piece to have once Kang gets back.

    I assume this punches Rogers’s ticket to AAA. It might make Morse redundant, too, once Kang does get back, but then again, if Morse is hitting, it’s always good to have another solid bat on the bench, even if he doesn’t really have a position.

    • Rogers’ OPS last year was 808, and Freese’s .743.

      If Freese’s defense is going downhill, I don’t see why we picked him up.

      • It’s really not. UZR has consistently seen him as avg. or very slightly above except for a terrible 2013, when he was bothered by a back problem. He’s also had an OPS+ of at least 104 every year except 2013, and even then it was 99.

      • Come on, Foo. SSS – Rogers had 152 AB’s and he played 11 inning at 3B and had 3 E’s in those 11 innings. They’re not going to run that out there….

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