Pirates “continue to monitor” the Mets’ Ike Davis

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The Pirates got an underwhelming .768 OPS from the first base position in 2013 and lost Justin Morneau this winter to free agency. If the 2014 season started today, Gaby Sanchez and his .258/.337/.417 career batting line would be Pittsburgh’s primary option at baseball’s most premium offensive position. And that’s not ideal.

According to Jayson Stark at ESPN.com, the Pirates “continue to monitor” Mets first baseman Ike Davis, who is competing for a starting job this spring with Lucas Duda. The Bucs have been linked recently to free agent Kendrys Morales, but Stark says there “doesn’t seem to be much substance” to those rumors. Justin Smoak or Mitch Moreland could become trade targets for the Bucs depending on how the Nelson Cruz shoe drops.

Davis batted just .205/.326/.334 last season for New York, but he slugged 32 home runs in 2012 and registered .925 OPS in 149 plate appearances the season before that. The 26-year-old former first-round pick has much more upside than Sanchez, who will turn 31 years old at the end of this upcoming summer.

Report: Mark McGwire won’t return to Padres

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MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reports that earlier this month, Mark McGwire informed the Padres he would be stepping down from his role as the club’s bench coach. McGwire took the job in December 2015. McGwire stepped down because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The Padres now have three coaching vacancies. Along with McGwire, manager Andy Green will have to replace hitting coach Matt Stairs and infielders coach Josh Jonson as well.

Though no fault of McGwire’s, the Padres have gone 205-281 (.422) over the last three years, peaking at 71 wins in 2017. The Padres, in fact, haven’t had a winning season since 2010 when they went 90-72.