With a surprise signing this evening, the Pirates signed third baseman, David Freese. The terms of the deal are for just one year at $3 million. Freese should serve as a serviceable insurance policy while Jung-Ho Kang recovers and then he’ll be part of a tremendous bench the Pirates have created.
David Freese came up through the Cardinals system and made his mark during the 2011 postseason when he put up some of the most ridiculous numbers in postseason history. In just 18 games, Freese finished with a .397 average, five home runs, and a Major League record 21 RBI’s. He would follow-up his post season magic by hitting .293 and blasting 20 homers while driving in 79 RBI’s. The very next year, his production was underwhelming and later that offseason he saw himself get traded to the Angels in which the Cardinals received Randal Grichuk.
Freese manned third base for the Angels for two seasons putting up virtually identical numbers each time. He has proven to be a complimentary piece rather than an All-Star to build a team around. With that said, he’s still put up above average numbers at the hot corner. Over the past 2 seasons, he’s essentially been a 260/320/400/720 hitter. In fantasy terms, this is a boring player you pass over on draft day, but his skill set has true value in real baseball. He brings to the table an above average bat with some pop, as well as average defense. Nothing about his game truly stands out, but there aren’t any major flaws either.
The Pirates are heading into this season with some concerns about Kang. It appears his rehab is ahead of schedule, but he’s still only been able to run straight lines at this point. Freese would be a very competent player to fill in until Kang is ready to go. The fact that he can also play first base is a much added bonus. I’m confident Jaso is going to earn one half of the platoon at first and now Freese has a good chance to be the second half as well. Morse is having a solid spring so far, but I truly question his abilities at this stage and he might be best suited as just a bench bat.
It’s quite amazing to see the Pirates locked up Freese for just $3 million. The Angels appeared to be mulling over the decision to offer him a qualifying offer. When they decided against it, Freese was rumored to be seeking a deal worth roughly $30 million over three years. It’s obvious that Pittsburgh may have struck gold on a very thin market for his services. Once Kang is healthy and is the everyday third baseman, Freese is only going to solidify the lineup. With another true corner infielder, this gives the flexibility to move Kang to short as well if anything were to happen to Mercer without the Bucs losing much production. Neil Huntington pulled off another under the radar move that has made this team a deep and very versatile club for 2016.