This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
Last month, the Pittsburgh Pirates swung a trade with the Kansas City Royals. In the deal, they acquired outfielder Edward Olivares in exchange for minor league infielder Deivis Nadal to help bolster their position player mix.
Olivares is coming off of a fine season in Kansas City last year in which he played a career-high 107 games. He ended the year with a .263/.317/.452 slash (105 wRC+) with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 12 home runs, 36 RBIs and 11 steals.
In 230 games across parts of four seasons as a big leaguer, Olivares has hit .261 with a .736 OPS with 24 home runs and 73 RBIs.
Olivares, who turns 28 in March, initially broke into the big leagues with the San Diego Padres during the 2020 season. Not long after making his debut, the Padres sent him to the Royals in a deal for relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal.
Since his first season, he’s steadily improved at the plate and tapped into his power potential at a higher level than ever before this past season.
While it was a solid season at the plate for Olivares, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington believes he’s even better than what he showed.
“He’s obviously not a household name, but since he’s gotten some opportunity in the major leagues the last couple years with Kansas City, he’s produced at a pretty solid level offensively,” Cherington said shortly after the acquisition. “In fact, some of the underlying numbers that we look at suggest that he may have even been a little better in 2023 than the surface-level numbers suggest. We think this is a bona fide major league hitter who has a chance to deepen our lineup.”
While there is already plenty to like with Olivares at the plate, plus the potential for more, there is one area of his game that needs drastic improvement.
Last season, the bulk of Olivares’ work came in left field, where he registered minus-9 defensive runs saved in only 54 games. He also had a minus-two DRS in right field in three games, giving him minus-11 total on the season.
With Andrew McCutchen back in the equation and the expectation being that he will be the primary designated hitter, Olivares will need to show improvement in the field if he wants to see consistent playing time.
On Thursday, the Pirates avoided arbitration with Olivares by agreeing to a $1.35 million salary for next season.