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Pedro Alvarez out at third base, but no position change imminent

Aug 3, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

Pedro Alvarez Pedro Alvarez

Earlier today, Matthew Pouliot discussed the ugliness of the Pirates’ third base predicament, as Pedro Alvarez has been an untenable defensive liability for the club this season. There was talk of moving Alvarez from third base to first base, but that would displace Ike Davis who is Alvarez’s equal against right-handed pitching.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports that, although Josh Harrison will take over third base on an everyday basis going forward, the Pirates won’t consider a position change for Alvarez until after the season. The Pirates also signed Jayson Nix to a one-year major league contract earlier today.

Alvarez has managed a mediocre .235/.322/.402 slash line with 15 home runs and 49 RBI this season, but nobody has made more errors at the hot corner than Alvarez (24). Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson comes in second with 18, so there’s a veritable gap and it explains the quagmire in Pittsburgh.

  1. chip56 - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    My guess is that Pedro will be shopped heavily this winter. Though with limited defensive value and one solid offensive year (that may have been an outlier) the Pirates won’t get much for him.

    • dan1111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:51 AM

      Interestingly, defensive stats rate him as only a little below average this season and above average last season. I wonder if any team will look beyond the ugly error numbers and give him a chance. His bat is decent enough if he can stick at third (above average OPS+ every season but one).

  2. mangoman1966 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    This guy had a lot of promise. Turns out he couldn’t hit left handers and now he can’t throw. Another of many bad first rounder picked by Pittsburgh.

    • renaado - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      I wouldn’t call it a bad pick, though. He’s a power hitter, his struggle at the plate is noticeable… But still, a great contributor, he is strugglin, just as many athletes will go through in the long run, and this is the chance he can show us if he can climb out of it or not.

      • Ayase Yano (綾瀬市 矢野) - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        Your last sentence made it sounds like you’re kantoku Akiyama-san, manager of Softbank.

        “Struggle is a challenge, to endure it we must, at the same time, we put it into our minds and learn from it, just like climbing a ladder we always aim for the top where something awaits, struggle is no enemy but a friend, like it or not we should always accept, it’s a part of life not just for athletes but also for normal people, players who haven’t gone through that, CHEATED (very controversial)”

        back at the 2011 NPB season, remembered every last detail of it. And hell yeah! We won.

      • Old Gator - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        Great comments by your manager. American managers tend not to be quite so philosophical. But then, you guys have had about a thousand years longer to think things over.

      • Ayase Yano (綾瀬市 矢野) - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:53 PM

        “But then, you guys have had about a thousand years longer to think things over.”

        I really have no idea what you meant about this Old Gator. But if it’s anticipation? I guarantee you, we are fully prepared for it. And always have some back up guys in Ni-gun ready for any possible situation like this one.

  3. andreweac - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    Dude is basically Ryan Howard but younger.

    • moogro - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      And can run a bit better.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Hmm… yeah, Ryan Howard fell off a cliff…

      But… in Howard’s first 5 seasons…

      he hit 222 home runs
      he had 640 RBI’s
      he was rookie of the year
      he finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 5th in the MVP race in his first 5 seasons

      Pedro Alavarez on the other hand,

      has 101 home runs so far as this is his 5th season
      has 317 RBI’s
      has ZERO MVP votes in any of his first five seasons (yeah, I’m calling him as not getting any for this coming season).

      Again, Howard has lost it but he did have a great first 5 yrs in the league.

      Howard hit .279 for his first five seasons with very high OPS+

      lead the league in total bases one of those seasons too

      Pedro’s career will be lucky to total what Howard did in his first 5 seasons

  4. ryanaammess - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    In the words of Scott Steiner, HE’S FAT!

    • mattymarts17 - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Great reference

  5. philswfc08 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Andrew – I was thinking the same thing…except this would be where the phillies (Ruben amaro) would sign him to a 5yr/$125M extension.

  6. carpi2 - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    The Pirates used to have this other Third Baseman, by the name of Jose Bautista. Alvarez is showing a similar career trajectory as Bautista. Hate to see the Bucs cut bait on another guy, who eventually figures it out, in another uniform.

    • wjarvis - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:11 AM

      Well Aramis Ramirez is the player that I thought of immediately, though he was a lot younger when they traded him. (I’m a Cubs fan, and sometimes even I feel bad for the Pirates about that trade)

      I had forgotten how many games Bautista played at 3B with Pit, I’ve always thought of him as an outfielder. I wouldn’t put money on Alvarez turning it around like Bautista, but your right Bautista was even worse than Alvarez. To put it into perspective Bautista didn’t have a season with a WAR >1 until he was 28 and in his 6th season (all were negative with baseball-reference, but fangraphs give him 0.9 for 2007).

      • carpi2 - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        You’re right about Bautista being more an outfielder. For some reason I remembered as a 3B earlier in his career

  7. apkyletexas - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:46 AM

    It’s obvious that he’ll eventually get a shot at first, where Pittsburgh has lacked production for years – he should be a natural at first. Once he gets comfortable there, I expect his bat will come back around.

    • dan1111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:14 AM

      The problem is that his bat has never been that great. He hits just well enough to be useful at third.

  8. ejheim62 - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    he’s a Boras client and a FA after 2015, I think. That means no matter what, they’ll either trade him or let him go after next year.

    too bad Ike Davis can’t play third (can he?), or i’d say just swap the two guys out and see what happens.

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