Clint Hurdle has had a lot of tough decisions to make this season from injuries and inconsistent starting pitching to playing solely the hand he’s been dealt. Hurdle gave Josh Harrison a chance to play third base and it seems as if he’s now the starter at the hot corner. Pedro Alvarez, the NL Silver Slugger for third basemen last year, has seemingly been benched. Alvarez has had a lot of problems getting a good throw across the diamond to first base this season. Alvarez leads baseball in errors this season with 24. But it seems as if Clint Hurdle is going to solve one problem with another here.
On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse welcomed a new ballplayer to the club. Jayson Nix, a seven year veteran utility infielder, was signed to a one-year contract by Pittsburgh. This makes things very interesting over the next few weeks as the Pirates are in contention for a playoff spot. This move seemingly makes Josh Harrison the everyday third basemen seeing that his bat hasn’t cooled off much this season and he’s still hitting a .304/.342/.497 slash line. Harrison has an .839 OPS yet coming into the season, he had never seen that number higher than in the .600 mark in his career. Hurdle has no choice but to bench Alvarez and start Harrison. But, Hurdle also has another problem that Pedro Alvarez can help to work out.
The first base platoon of Gaby Sanchez and Ike Davis has lacked solid production all season. The Pirates traded for Ike Davis earlier this season and hoped that they would get the pop out of his bat that he had in the 2012 campaign. Well, so far things haven’t exactly gone as planned. While the Pirates offense has been very good, and is currently tied with Detroit in on-base percentage, the platoon of Sanchez and Davis could be the difference between a few games in the standings. The Pirates have still struggled with runners in scoring position and a lot of times it’s been the platoon of Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez that can’t get that run home. In comes Pedro Alvarez.
With the signing of Nix, it allows the Pirates to possibly take some time with Pedro and maybe do an extended Spring Training with him and move him to first base. Both Alvarez and manager Clint Hurdle have denied the move in the past but at this point, the move could really bolster this offense even more. Starling Marte is coming back soon for the Pirates as well as Gerrit Cole. With a healthy Marte and Cole, as the Pirates, your pitching and offense instantly become better. On top of that, removing Davis and Sanchez from that spot moves them to the bench and allows Alvarez’s bat to come into play as well. Clint Hurdle has made moves in the past that seem unorthodox, but that’s what makes him so great as a manager. He’s making the most with the players he has and the move to first base for Alvarez could bring more success.