Pedro Alvarez homers, Pirates win a wild one

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Let’s play a game.  I’ll give you a real-life baseball scenario, you tell me where it took place:

A 23-year-old third baseman hits a walkoff three-run home run in front of a raucous sellout home crowd.

Gotta be a place like Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, New York, or St. Louis, right?  Where sellouts are commonplace and top prospects perform like they’re supposed to.  No, that was a scene from PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Pedro Alvarez, 23, has blasted 10 home runs in his first 163 major league at-bats and played the hero on Saturday evening in front of a massive crowd that was aided by the promise of a George Thorogood post-game concert.  Dejan Kovaceivc of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote this morning that it was “one of the great finishes in PNC Park history,” and there’s no doubting that.

The Pirates have struggled through some really rough seasons in the past decade and they’re going to finish 2010 with a losing record for the 18th straight year.  But Alvarez and players like Andrew McCutchen have allowed the fans in Pittsburgh to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.