With the Phillies searching for middle infield backups, thanks to injuries to Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, and current utility infielder Michael Martinez, it may pay for GM Neal Huntington to lob a phone call to GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.
The Pirates made a bold, yet subtle at the same time, statement this offseason by signing Clint Barmes to a 2-year guaranteed deal. While it did not say that they were giving up on the current crop of SS candidates in the system, it did say that they were not waiting for them, either.
In recent days, we’ve heard and read articles about how Chase d’Arnaud will be the starting SS at AAA Indianapolis and Jordy Mercer will be the 2B at Indy, even though Huntington himself said that Mercer is the more developed defensively of the two.
At the major league level, Yamaico Navarro is making a strong case to be the middle infielder backup, possibly at 3B, SS, and 2B (similar to Brandon Wood last year) with Josh Harrison also getting reps at these positions.
There is also the phantom Rule 5, Gustavo Nunez, floating around the 60-day DL ether, plus Brock Holt who seems consigned back to AA Altoona to at least start the year.
The Phillies are in win-now mode and do want to develop a guy on the fly in the majors, even for a backup position, so none of these players (definitely not Nunez) may be all that appealing to them. However, the Pirates do have a backlog of borderline starters/middle infield backups to sift through.
Prospects are like bananas — you want to make sure you use them up, one way or another, before they turn brown. Neil Walker is going nowhere and Barmes is signed through 2013, so it may behoove the Pirates to effectively utilize an asset if they can fill another organizational need.