The Milwaukee Brewers still have a need at second base. While they have players that can cover it with Eric Sogard, Jonathan Villar, and Hernan Perez, they could use a solid second baseman to strengthen the position. Interest still remains in Neil Walker, but if the Brewers can’t re-sign him, there need to be other options available. One of those could come from a divisional rival, in Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Brewers are interested in acquiring Josh Harrison from the Pirates, and targeting Harrison could make a lot of sense for the Brewers. The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking at a rebuild now, and have already begun trading away MLB players. Not only that, but they have been taking lower returns for some of those players. Gerrit Cole was traded for a low return to Houston, and Andrew McCutchen was traded to the Giants today for what also might be considered a low return. If the Pirates are taking lower prices for their players, a push for Harrison makes a lot of sense, as obtaining him can bring in a lot of value.
Of course, trading Harrison within the division will be tougher to accomplish. Even if the Pirates are rebuilding, making a division rival stronger would not work to the Pirates’ advantage as it could made the rebuilding process harder. The only way to counteract that would be to get extra value in the trade, which drives the price up for the Brewers. It doesn’t make a deal impossible to do, but it does increase the difficulty factor a bit. It might require the Brewers trading away a top prospect to do, but not much more than that.
Harrison was one of the more valuable players for the Pirates on offense in 2017. He recorded a .272/.339/.432 batting line with 16 HR, 47 RBI, and 12 SB. Steamer predicts he will have a .272/.324/.415 batting line in 2018, with just 11 HR, 56 RBI, and 12 SB. Over his career, he has put up a .281/.321/.414 batting line and 101 wRC+. According to Buster Olney, Harrison is due $10 million in 2018, with options for $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs