The Pittsburgh Pirates talked about third baseman David Freese internally as the offseason began, understanding that Jung Ho Kang probably wouldn't be healed enough to play this April as he recovered from his leg injury. But the Pirates believed that Freese's salary demand would probably be too high, so they moved on, assuming he would sign elsewhere.
But in February, Freese was still looking for a job, so the talks with the Pirates began, leading to a one-year, $3 million deal Friday, seemingly a great fit that was not there for Freese's previous team.
The Angels have a serious need for offense, and after having Freese in their lineup the past two seasons, they chose to not retain him, perhaps because of his unspectacular production at the plate — he had a .704 OPS in 2014 and .743 OPS in 2015 — or perhaps because of his defense. Last year, Freese ranked among the bottom half of regular third basemen in defensive runs saved, with minus-2. Or maybe it was a combination of the two. Whatever the concern, the Angels passed.
Freese will be the Pirates' third baseman as Pittsburgh waits for the return of Kang from his knee injury.