Once again, the Pirates made a transaction that isn’t flashy and will lead to plenty of snarky comments, but in isolation, it appears to be a reasonable move that improves their 2016 club at least a little bit.
Jason Rogers, formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers, is a good hitter and a versatile corner infielder. I don’t think anybody’s anointing him as an every day first baseman, but he can play first. He can also play third. (And also a little bit of outfield.) Apparently defense is not his calling card, but I don’t think we’re talking Pedro-esque struggles. The versatility is nice, and it had to appeal to the Pirates with Jung Ho Kang likely out to start the year and their sketchy first base situation, but the real attraction with Rogers is the bat. He broke in to the majors pretty late (age 27), but he’s hit consistently well throughout his minor league career and had a very strong partial season in 2015 after getting the call up.
He may not quite project to hit well enough to be a productive every day corner IF, but I wouldn’t rule that out, and it’s certainly possible that he’ll be better than whatever other options the Pirates were going to come up with at first base. Like I said, I’m not considering him the solution to that problem, but he can help right away by filling in for the injured Kang…and once Kang’s back, he adds much needed bench depth. If Mercer’s hurt/struggling, Kang can play short and Rogers can play third. If Kang or Morse/mystery new 1B get hurt/struggle, Rogers can fill in for them. And there’s a chance he could outplay Morse straight-up, although I don’t think that’s the intent here.
Another thing I like about Rogers – he doesn’t show a big lefty/righty split. He’s righty, so he’s not a platoon partner for Morse, but if he hits like he has, the Pirates will find a place for his bat. And since he was just called up late this season, the Pirates control him for six years.
Initially I thought the Pirates gave up a lot for a marginal upgrade, but the more I’ve learned about Rogers, the more I like him. Keon Broxton did reach the majors this year, but purely as a speed guy. I was intrigued by his offense the last two years, but he still wasn’t being billed as much of an up-and-coming hitter despite improved numbers at the higher levels of the minors. Besides, it would have take a devastating injury (or two) for him to even get a chance to show what he has in the majors with the Pirates with any sort of regularity. Outfield is a position of strength for the Pirates, and it makes sense for them to deal from that area.
Trey Supak was a second round pick last year, so he’s certainly not a throw-away prospect, even though he hasn’t done much in the minors yet and isn’t making waves on any prospect lists. He’s still a guy that could make the Pirates regret this trade eventually….but they have plenty of minor league pitching depth, he hasn’t pitched above rookie ball, and if you are going to be that conservative with your prospects…well, forget it. I like Rogers enough to make a very minor roll of the dice on this one.
Original article: Pirates Acquire Jason Rogers
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