"He's a versatile left-handed hitter who does some things we like in the batter's box," GM Neal Huntington said. "He could compete to make our club as a bat off the bench." Goebbert could also compete for time as the left-handed part of a first base platoon, especially if Pedro Alvarez is dealt, but his best bet to make the team is as a backup first baseman/outfielder. He also has three minor league options remaining, leaving Pittsburgh flexibility to start him at Triple-A if it finds better options.
The 28-year-old did not play in the major leagues last season after being DFA'd by the Padres in January. He spent the year at Triple-A El Paso, hitting .294 with 10 home runs and 62 RBI in 122 games. His last major league appearance came in 2014, when he logged time in 51 games (115 plate appearances) for San Diego. With the acquisition, the Pirates now have 39 players on the 40-man roster.
He should spend the majority of his age-23 season at Triple-A, as the Cubs do not have an opening for the bulky slugger. That said, if he were traded to an American League team, Vogelbach would immediately become one of the more exciting designated hitters from a fantasy standpoint.
Bell had a very impressive campaign once being promoted to Triple-A in 2015, slashing .347/.441/.504 in 35 games. The 23-year-old could make the big league roster at some point in 2016, but the move also ensures he'll be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
Although Palka struck out 164 times in 129 games as a 23-year-old at High-A in 2015, he managed a .280/.352/.532 line, 29 homers and 24 steals, while also appearing at all three outfield positions. The Twins did reasonably well acquiring Palka, who stands 6-foot-2 and hits from the left side, in exchange for a light-hitting backup catcher.
One of the club's top prospects, Smith had an impressive season with High-A St. Lucie in 2015, slashing .305/.354/.417 with six homers and 79 RBI in 118 games. The oblique injury shouldn't effect his availability for the spring, but it could end his AFL stint early.
Decker was called up to the Padres near the end of September -- his first opportunity with a major league club in his career. Used primarily as a pinch-hitter, Decker was unable to record a hit, going 0-for-11 in eight appearances with the club. Decker certainly has the power, (he hit 65 home runs in three years with Triple-A El Paso) but it remains to be seen whether he can boast a consistent batting average worthy of a major league roster spot.
Morneau was limited to just 49 games in 2015 due to a concussion and considering his history (he missed chunks of time in 2010 and 2011 with concussions) there's no guarantee that the 34 year old will return for another season.
However, if he chooses to play another season he should see a fair amount of interest from other clubs. He slashed .310/.363/.458 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 168 at-bats with the Rockies this season.
Stuck behind Pedro Alvarez, Mike Morse and Sean Rodriguez on the depth chart, it seemed likely Ishikawa would elect to play elsewhere after joining the Pirates through waivers in the beginning of July. It's unclear where he will play next after he slashed a miserable .206/.306/.302 in 63 at-bats with the Giants and Pirates last season.
Duda handled first base during the entire divisional series versus the Dodgers, yet he managed two hits versus 11 strikeouts in 18 at-bats. For the series opener, managed Terry Collins has opted to hand first to Michael Cuddyer, who will bat sixth in the order.