The trade deadline is fast approaching and how the Pirates should handle it is becoming a very popular topic. There are reasonable arguments that they should buy, sell, stand pat and even buy and sell at the same time. The division appears winnable but this iteration of the Pirates doesn’t seem to be a strong club. I’ve gone back and forth many times but barring a massive hot streak coming out of the break I think I have settled on a strategy.
Deal Anyone You Can Not Controlled Beyond 2018
Players fitting this criteria are Tony Watson, Jordy Mercer, Chris Stewart, Juan Nicasio, John Jaso, Daniel Hudson and yes even Andrew McCutchen. Now obviously a lot of these guys have basically no value but even a lottery ticket could be worth it in a lot of cases. As for McCutchen I do not want to see him traded and would be looking for a fairly big deal but I know sadly it is probably in the organization’s best interest to move on.
Listen On The Guys Controlled Through 2019 (And Josh Harrison)
This is Josh Harrison, Gerrit Cole, Francisco Cervelli, David Freese and Ivan Nova (Drew Hutchison, Wade LeBlanc and Jung-Ho Kang technically are here too but none have enough value to move at this point). It would be insanely difficult to pry Cole away for me but a high end prospect like Gleyber Torres from the Yankees would be difficult to pass up. As for the rest a good offer and getting the contract off the books would be enough.
The Rivero Question
There has been some speculation that the Pirates should trade Rivero and see what type of massive haul they could get. While I don’t doubt they could get a massive haul I’d shy away from moving him unless the offer was insane. Relievers have limited shelf life so I don’t think any team would really view it as getting him for 4.5 years and teams like relievers with long track records. For those reasons I think Rivero won’t be valued highly enough to move so keeping him and building a bullpen around him is a good idea.
With my apparent willingness to sell pretty much every short term asset you would think I’d be against the Pirates buying but that isn’t really true. The team despite its flaws is close enough to contending this year and next that I don’t want to simply pass up those opportunities. Because of this I’d look into buying but likely only flawed assets. I’d be willing to look into productive players controlled beyond this year who have contracts that are make them slightly overpaid. For example Ian Kinsler is a 35 year old 2B who has really fallen off but he is still productive. He has a 10 million dollar option next year that while not terrible is far from a bargain. If he could be had for a small return bringing him makes a certain amount of sense.