Pittsburgh signed David Freese to a one-year, $3 million deal with no available incentives, the club announced Friday night. Jesse Biddle was designated for assignment in the corresponding roster move.
Freese, 32, has not had a notable amount of success after thriving with the Cardinals early in his career. Most advanced metrics would suggest he is an average third baseman, which might be what the Pirates are hoping for by signing him this late.
With the Cardinals, Freese proved to be a consistent offensive contributor and, at times, a versatile player off the bench. However, over his two seasons with the Angels, Freese batted .258.
Last season, Freese batted .257/.323/.420 to complement 14 home runs and 56 RBIs over 121 games.
Los Angeles reportedly considered giving Freese a qualifying offer but ultimately decided to allow him to test the free agent market.
Freese has missed time as a result of injuries over the last few seasons, but a majority of those have come because he has been hit by pitches.
Josh Harrison and Jung Ho Kang are options for the Pirates at second and third base, but Kang has not fully recovered from a leg injury last season. Freese will likely be in Pittsburgh's Opening Day lineup.
Freese gives the Pirates depth at first base and could become a platoon partner for John Jaso. Michael Morse could also serve in that capacity but might also be used as an outfielder.
Over the course of the year, Freese will likely anchor the Pirates' infield, which consists of numerous young players and prospects. It could prove to be one of the more beneficial signings of the off-season, as Freese will likely contribute consistently.