PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – The Pirates were able to trade intriguing outfield prospect Keon Broxton to Milwaukee for first baseman Jason Rogers last December mainly because there won’t be a spot in Pittsburgh’s outfield for the foreseeable future.
The question is, will there be a spot for the right-handed hitting Rogers in Pittsburgh?READ MORE: 6 Tornadoes Tear Through Western Pennsylvania
Rogers, who turns 28 next week, finally broke through in the second half of 2015 after spending 5-plus seasons in Milwaukee’s minor league system and showed a major league bat. Playing mostly first base, Rogers hit for a .296 average, .367 on-base, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of a more-than-respectable .808. But, first base is crowded.
The Pirates signed lefty hitter John Jaso to play first base against right-handed pitchers (even though Jaso is still in the early stages of learning the position) and right-handed slugger Michael Morse (who can also play the outfield) is still under contract. Plus, we can’t forget late-inning defensive replacement Sean Rodriguez.
There could, however, be an opening at third base where Jung Ho Kang is still recovering from that devastating knee/leg injury late last season.
“I actually played a lot of third base in college,” says Rogers, who attended Columbus State. “Then, in 2014 (AA and AAA) I played the entire year, so it’s just a matter of getting the footwork back and getting used to making the throws.”READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Saturday Showers
The problem was, Rogers wasn’t a great defender at the position, making a total of 21 errors in 122 games at third, so the Brewers moved him back to first last season.
Another thing is, the Pirates have other, more proven, third base options, including the aforementioned Rodriguez. Plus, there is always Josh Harrison – who could shift back for a few weeks until Kang is ready. Also, Allen Hanson continues his hot spring and proves capable at second base.
Rogers can also play the outfield and position flexibility could help snare that final roster spot.
Listen to the interview with Rogers here:
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