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Perrotto: Who’s on First? The Pirates’ Battle for the Corner Bag (+)



Technically, the Pittsburgh Pirates had 10 first basemen last season. Yet for most of the wretched year, it seemed as if the Pirates had no first baseman at all.

The 10 men who took turns playing first base hit a measly .206/264/.337 with 17 homers. Their 61 OPS+ meant they were an adjusted 39% below major league average at the position as the Pirates finished 62-100.

Pirates general manager Ben Cherington, to his credit, moved decisively to fill the massive hole at first base in November. Cherington first moved to trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Ji-Man Choi then signed Carlos Santana as a free agent.

So now the Pirates have two legitimate big league first basemen. The challenge for manager Derek Shelton in 2023 shifts from trying to find a first baseman who could provide some type of production to finding ways to get both Choi and Santana into the lineup.

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