Pirates fans have a love/hate relationship with Pedro Alvarez. He is one of the streakiest players in the majors who generally strikes out a ton and hits the ball for a mile. In the field there are few that try harder but trying and doing are two different things.
Pedro as a third basemen has been a disaster. I had hopes that an upgraded first basemen would
make Pedro better but it didn't. Now Pedro is at first, while he is doing okay for a player that has
hardly played first base it hasn't been great. Too often his puppy dog syndrome from playing third
all those years kicks in and he goes after balls he shouldn't leaving first uncovered. Once he gets
past that issue I think he will be a slightly below average first basemen that is acceptable to have in
your starting line up provided he is hitting.
Calling Pedro streaky is an understatement. He will go 2 months with out doing much of anything
then get on a 2 week roll hitting the ball so hard that Jose Canseco has to stop him and ask what he
is taking. So when you look at his stats when he tied for the NL Home Run lead it really isn't too
surprising to see he batted .233/.296/.473 with 36 HR and league leading 186 strike outs.
There is an upside. It seems Pedro is improving. So far this year Pedro has only has 52 strike outs which would be
a career low if he keeps that pace. He is starting to punish teams hitting the other way when
shifting on him but not enough to make them stop doing it. As we know with Pedro everything is a
slow process with him. I predict that when he is 31 he will be similar to Jose Bautista.
Okay so why trade him? First it will be near impossible to sign an extension with Boras with his
agent. Pedro makes close to $6 Million as a reward for being near the league leaders in strike outs
per at bat.
In my opinion there are a couple reasons why he is still on the team. First we like Pedro and want
to give him every chance to succeed as we can. Second we have no other real options at first base
besides Corey Hart and Sean Rodriguez. No one needs a sub par fielding third/first basemen or a DH
right now. Lastly the Pirates don't want to sell him 'low' hoping he will get better which he has
shown signs he is.
The Pirates have been grooming Josh Bell for the first base role. We should get to see him in the
fall. Bell will hit for average but not much in the way of power. Other than that there is not much
excitement in the minors for anyone else playing first.
If the Pirates make any moves at the trade deadline for a first basemen expect to see Pedro gone by
next spring training.