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Pirates asked about Pennington, Barmes in addition to Zobrist

Bill Brink 3 years ago

The Pirates have asked about Diamondbacks infielder Cliff Pennington and Padres shortstop Clint Barmes in addition to Athletics utility player Ben Zobrist, according to a major league source. 

After losing Josh Harrison (thumb surgery) and Jordy Mercer (sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee), the Pirates are looking for help for the left side of the infield. Jung Ho Kang will be the shortstop going forward, with Sean Rodriguez and Brent Morel as options at third base. The Pirates also accelerated plans to get infield prospect Alen Hanson playing time at third base with Class AAA Indianapolis. 

Multiple sources have said the Pirates have some degree of interest in Zobrist, the talented utility man who has played seven different positions in his 10-year major league career. Zobrist, a 34-year-old switch-hitter, is hitting .258/.346/.423 with five home runs and 18 doubles this year. He is making $7.5 million and is a free agent after this season. 

Because of Zobrist’s value -- multiple positions, expiring contract, switch-hitter -- he is said to be in high demand from several teams.

Pennington is a 31-year-old switch-hitter who has played mostly shortstop in his eight-year career. Nick Ahmed has started the majority of the games at shortstop this season for the Diamondbacks. Pennington is hitting .245/.322/.292 in 124 plate appearances. He is making $3,275,000 and will be a free agent after this season.

The Pirates are familiar with Barmes, who spent three years in Pittsburgh from 2012-14. He signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Padres in December with a $2 million club option for 2016 and a $200,000 buyout. At 36, Barmes is hitting better this season -- .284/.324/.440 than any of his three years in Pittsburgh and began splitting time at short with Alexi Amarista around the beginning of June, after Amarista started the majority of the games the first two months of the season.