Pedro Alvarez out at third base, but no position change imminent

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Earlier today, Matthew Pouliot discussed the ugliness of the Pirates’ third base predicament, as Pedro Alvarez has been an untenable defensive liability for the club this season. There was talk of moving Alvarez from third base to first base, but that would displace Ike Davis who is Alvarez’s equal against right-handed pitching.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports that, although Josh Harrison will take over third base on an everyday basis going forward, the Pirates won’t consider a position change for Alvarez until after the season. The Pirates also signed Jayson Nix to a one-year major league contract earlier today.

Alvarez has managed a mediocre .235/.322/.402 slash line with 15 home runs and 49 RBI this season, but nobody has made more errors at the hot corner than Alvarez (24). Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson comes in second with 18, so there’s a veritable gap and it explains the quagmire in Pittsburgh.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.