Trio of first basemen are on Pirates' radar

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Major League Baseball's winter meetings begin Monday in Orlando, Fla., bringing executives, player agents and the reporters who cover them to one place for four days. The Pirates have yet to make a major offseason move but undoubtedly will pursue upgrades this week. Who exactly is on the radar? Here are some names you might hear:

1B James Loney, 29, Tampa Bay

2013 stats: .299 batting average/.348 on-base percentage/.430 slugging percentage, 13 home runs, 598 plate appearances in 158 games.

2013 salary: $2 million, one-year deal.

Why he's a candidate: Loney's agent is shopping for a three-year deal around $27 million to $30 million, according to reports. His upside is that he had a strong 2013 with Tampa Bay, including 33 doubles, but his power is limited and he hit just .249 in 2012. He is a solid defensive first baseman who bats left-handed, which the Pirates are in the market for and could make him a platoon option with Gaby Sanchez. But the asking price could be too steep for the Pirates. ESPN reported last week he is a top target for the Pirates, but the club has not showed its cards.

1B Adam Lind, 30, Toronto

2013 stats: .288/.357/.497, 23 home runs, 465 plate appearances in 143 games.

2013 salary: $5 million, second of five-year, $23.4 million deal.

Why he's a candidate: Another left-handed bat, Lind's name has come up in various reports as a trade candidate. He has some power, drove in 67 runs and had an .854 on-base plus slugging percentage for the Blue Jays in 2013. At 30, Toronto picked up his $7 million option for 2014. Team options at $7.5 million and $8 million follow in 2015 and 2016 and there have been reports the Blue Jays could be interested in moving him.

1B Mitch Moreland, 28, Texas

2013 stats: .232/. 299/.437, 23 home runs, 518 plate appearances in 147 games.

2013 salary: $502,700. Arbitration-eligible, free agent in 2017.

Why he's a candidate: Another left-handed bat, the Pirates reportedly have inquired about Moreland, who appeared to become more expendable when the Rangers picked up Prince Fielder to play first base. He hit 20 home runs off of right-handers this past year, although he hit just .194 in his final 98 games. He made $502,700 in 2013 and is arbitration-eligible in 2014. His salary -- which should spike to $2 million to $3 million -- is likely to align within the Pirates' budget if he's deemed a fit and the Rangers decide to part with him.

LHP Brett Anderson, 25, Oakland

2013 stats: 1-4, 2.00 ERA in 442/3 innings, 9.3 strikeouts per nine.

2013 salary: $5.75 million. Under contract for $8 million in 2014, with $12 million club option for 2015.

Why he's a candidate: The A's appear to be in the market to shop left-handed Anderson. He has had injury problems throughout his career but his best might be yet to come. In five seasons, he has compiled a 3.81 ERA with 7.1 strikeouts to 2.4 walks per nine innings.

There also are a few long-shot options whose names could be mentioned as potential acquisitions for the Pirates:

LHP David Price, 28, Tampa Bay

2013 stats: 10-8, 3.33 ERA, 151 strikeouts.

2013 salary: $10 million. Arbitration-eligible in 2014, free agent in 2016.

Why he's a long shot: Price is on the radar of many teams after coming off an outstanding 2013. He led the American League with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.59 and would be a dominant addition to the rotation. The interest he will draw and the price he could command, however, make him unlikely to end up in a Pirates uniform. But reports did surface last week that the club was interested.

RHP Matt Garza, 30, Texas Rangers

2013 stats: 4.83 ERA in 841/3 innings with Texas after being traded by the Cubs.

2013 salary: $10.25 million

Why he's a long shot: Garza, with a career 3.84 ERA, split this past season between the Cubs and Rangers. A former first-round pick, he has performed well in the playoffs and boasts a career 3.84 ERA in 31 postseason innings. He reportedly is seeking a major long-term deal and many teams are interested, which could render him out of reach for the Pirates.


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