Speaking with reporters over the weekend, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington admitted the team is looking for outfield help outside the organization following the 80-game suspension of centerfielder Starling Marte.
Since Marte’s ban was announced last week, the Pirates have shifted Andrew McCutchen back to his natural centerfield spot. Gregory Polanco has remained in left, but the Buccos have mixed and matched in right field with a combination of John Jaso, Jose Osuna, and Adam Frazier. Huntington wants a more permanent option, especially since top prospect Austin Meadows apparently isn’t anywhere near ready for the big leagues.
According to beat writer Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Pirates “have mulled” outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis who was recently designated for assignment by the Brewers, but his weak bat makes it unlikely they’ll pursue him. The Mariners also DFA’ed outfielder Leonys Martin over the weekend. His $4.85 million salary may be too rich for the Pirates’ taste, but Seattle could possibly eat some of the money to facilitate a deal. Martin slashed .247/.306/.378 across 576 plate appearances for the Mariners last season.
Pittsburgh should figure something out in the coming days. It likely wants a player also capable of playing center, allowing McCutchen a rest day here and there over the next few months.