After a brief break and side track we'll continue around the diamond to short stop.
In 2017 the Pirates only had two players play short stop. That makes this discussion pretty simple, but also hard choices need to be made.
Jordy Mercer 145 Games, 1.4 WAR, 4.9 DEF, $4.32M
Max Moroff 56 Games, 0.5 WAR, 5.5 DEF, $550k
Jordy Mercer has been the staple at short stop with solid defense and generally average bat at the back of the line up while being fairly cheap during his career. He has done a generally good job keeping mistakes down and has pretty good range. But that has been changing the past two seasons. While still good and average defense, mistakes have been more common and seems to have lost a step after returning from injury in 2016 his bat also has declined a small amount but neither all that dramaticly. Along with the slight decline his price tag has also gone up and is expected to go up a fairly significant amount again this off season. To make matters worse other short stops around the league have gotten better, in some cases much better. This makes what was average a few seasons ago look below average now.
Max Moroff, we covered him in the second base discussion so i'll just say if he can get his bat to league average he has a shot at starting in the big leagues.
Jordy is the starter but they need to keep his cost down. Hopefully Tucker, Newman and/or Kramer will be ready soon and no moves need to be made. But watch Max, if he adjusts to MLB pitching and starts getting on base more Jordy might be out of a starting job.
The off season/draft
Alot here depends on Kang. Won't go too deep into it, we've been through that in previous posts and will go deeper in the third base over view. There are two Free agent options available. Nunez and Cozart. Nunez makes more sense to play third and if they get Kang back can play short.
Nunez provides about average defense, a slightly above average bat and is versatile on the field to give you options in the event of Kang returning. A 3-4 year deal at 6-8M/year seems to fit his skill set maybe a little more or less depending other incentives.
Cozart over his career is an around average bat, that broke out last season. He is also a well above average glove. However he is pretty much shoe horned into short stop having never played another position in the MLB. He could probably move to third with out much trouble but I would guess he would like to stay at short. He could be an okay pick up if the team could get him one a one or two year deal for around 7-8M/year
Again the draft should not focus on a middle infielder.
TL;DR: Jordy is the guy until someone better comes along. Nunez makes sense if Kang returns Nunez can slide over. Hopefully Max or one of the prospects makes the jump soon and does at least average.