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Beckham, three lefties could fill Pirates’ needs


The Pirates chose Pedro Alvarez with the second pick in the 2008 draft. Despite having some big moments, the slugger never lived up to his billing.

The No. 1 pick that year was Tim Beckham by the Rays. He, too, has been a disappointment.

Yet Beckham might be of interest to the Pirates after he was one of 43 players who became free agents Friday night when they were not tendered contracts by their teams. In the 27-year-old infielder's case, he was cut loose by the Orioles.

The Pirates continue to look for someone who can compete to be the starting shortstop in 2019 or at least share the job with rookie Kevin Newman. They traded for the Indians' Erik Gonzalez last month but Beckham could also fit the bill.

Beckham spent last season with Baltimore, hitting .230/.287/.374 with 12 home runs in 96 games, 46 of which he started at shortstop after All-Star Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers in July. Beckham had minus-3 defensive runs saved at shortstop.

Beckham's salary was $3.35 million in 2018.

The Pirates love players with versatility and Beckham can play all four infield positions. General manager Neal Huntington is also known for giving opportunities to players who were once top prospects in other organizations.

The Pirates could also consider signing three left-handed relievers who were non-tendered -- Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno and Dan Jennings.

Avilan, 29, was a combined 2-1 with one save, a 3.77 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 70 games with the White Sox and Phillies in 2018. Cedeno, 32, went a combined 2-0 with one save, a 2.43 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 48 games with the White Sox and Brewers. Jennings, 31, was 4-5 with one save and 3.22 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 72 games with the Brewers.

Avilan had a $2.45 million salary while Jennings made $1.4 million and Cedeno made $1.3 million.

Meanwhile, the Pirates received minor league right-hander Wilkin Ramos from the Athletics on Saturday to complete the Nov. 20 trade for righty Tanner Anderson.

Ramos, 18, made his professional debut this year in the Dominican Summer League. He was 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 14 games, including eight starts.

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