Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates have “looked into” first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Shane Victorino of the Red Sox.
Napoli, 33, has had a tough year at the plate, entering Sunday’s game batting a meager .205/.301/.372 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI. He is owed the remainder of his $16 million salary and can become a free agent after the season.
Victorino, 34, has also scuffled at the plate when he hasn’t been on the disabled list. He’s hitting .245/.324/.298 with one home run and four RBI in 106 plate appearances. Victorino is owed the remainder of his $13 million salary and can also become a free agent after the season.
The second-place Pirates, at 57-41, have mostly been using Pedro Alvarez at first base. Alvarez, however, has a severe platoon split, so pairing him with Napoli would alleviate that problem. Victorino would function as a fourth outfielder.
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.