The Pirates acquired 1B/3B Jeff Larish from the Boston Red Sox tonight, which is a curious move on its own. The Pirates will assign Larish to Indianapolis tomorrow, which is a team loaded with 1B/3B options. They’ve got Matt Hague getting every day playing time at third base. Jake Fox is playing at first base. Jeff Clement is serving as the designated hitter.
There’s no room for Larish in Indianapolis, and it doesn’t make much sense to add a 1B/3B bench bat, considering the make-up of the team. That makes me wonder if another shoe will drop from this deal.
The Pirates need offense. Not only do they need offense in the lineup, but they need offense off the bench. Nate McLouth, Josh Harrison, and Yamaico Navarro are all struggling off the bench. Harrison has a .179 average and a .493 OPS. Navarro has a .207 average and a .604 OPS. McLouth has a .205 average and a .552 OPS.
At the start of the year it made sense to keep Harrison and Navarro on the roster, as Pedro Alvarez was serving in a sort of platoon. Now that Alvarez is getting regular playing time there’s not much of a need for guys like Harrison or Navarro to get playing time on the field. They’re pretty much limited to pinch hitting roles and spot starts, making their bats more important, and their defense less important.
Now that the Pirates are looking more for hitting off the bench, with less of a priority on defense, there’s no need for both Harrison and Navarro. It would make more sense to bring up someone like Matt Hague or Jake Fox. Both players have good bats and can hit for some power, with Fox having the advantage in that department.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the other shoe dropping, with Fox or Hague getting the call to the majors. It doesn’t make sense to add Larish when you’ve got Hague, Fox, and Clement, unless one of those players will make the jump to the majors. It also doesn’t make sense to have both Yamaico Navarro and Josh Harrison in the majors considering the needs of the team. What does make sense is bringing up Hague or Fox, sending Harrison down, and adding Jeff Larish to replace whoever got the call from Triple-A.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates lost 1-0 to the Astros. Game story here.
**Prospect Watch: Gift Ngoepe hits his fourth homer of the year.
**Pirates Notebook: Alex Presley is working to regain last season’s swing.