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What I’d Like to See at the Trade Deadline

The MLB Trade Deadline is three weeks away; while there would normally be the anticipation of a plethora of wild moves, the reality of the situation is that there are so many teams that are still technically “in it,” that there may not be many big moves at all. That said, there are a handful of teams that seem destined to be sellers, and while I could wax poetic about the moves I want the Yankees to make (Luis Rengifo, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Ryan Helsley, and Tanner Scott all come to mind), instead I want to talk about something which, while unlikely, is both doable and would shake the baseball world.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates – at the time of writing – are 43-47, and while they are 9.5 games back in the division, they only sit four games back in the Wild Card Standings; the Bucco’s offense has been lackluster overall, but the team has three excellent starting pitchers in Paul Skenes, Jared Jones and Mitch Keller who could be dangerous enough in the playoffs to knock off a league-wide favorite, and maybe even win it all. For this reason, I believe the Pirates should go for it, even at the expense of the farm system, because while the odds are that having these three talented pitchers will help them for years to come, this is baseball, and you can never be too sure; Carpe Fenestram, Seize the Window!

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MOVE #1: Trade for the White Sox Ace, Garrett Crochet

This move might seem a bit out of left field (ironically one of their few offensive strengths), especially because if they already have three great pitchers, why would this move be needed? Putting aside the fact that there are always injuries (Jones is on the IL as we speak), the old adage remains true: you can never have enough pitching. If Skenes, Jones, and Keller are a scary enough rotation as is, imagine adding in Crochet, a power lefty who is currently leading the majors with 146 K’s in 105.1 IP, while sporting a 3.08 ERA! This type of addition could be very important not only in getting them to the playoffs but also in facing a stacked team like the Dodgers. Pitching. Wins. Championships.

This is the type of move where – while I admittedly am not a Pirate fanboy so it would hurt me less – I would be willing to trade Pittsburgh’s top pitching prospect, Bubba Chandler. Estimated to be MLB-ready by 2025, Chandler is currently pitching well in Double-A, and his loss would be made up for by the fact that the Pirates would retain Crochet through at least 2026. Chandler and a couple of lower-level prospects for Crochet could be a phenomenal move for both the Pirates and a rebuilding White Sox team.
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MOVE #2: Put together a package for Oakland’s Miller and Rooker

 

This, to me, is where it gets really exciting; in acquiring both Mason Miller and Brent Rooker, the Pirates would be putting together a dominant bullpen (Miller would join David Bednar, who is due for some positive regression, and Colin Holderman who has been excellent) and adding a much-needed bat, who is arguably having his best season to date. Miller of course is the hot ticket, and it will take a lot to obtain him, but maybe not as much as one might think given he is a closer; still Miller has put up a phenomenal season thus far, as he was almost unhittable in the early going and still has great numbers (2.39 ERA with 14 saves and 66 Ks in 37.2 IP). Miller would be the Pirates’ closer until 2030, but he also has some past injury history, and any pitcher nowadays is liable to blow out his arm at some point, so perhaps his price would be lower than the A’s might want?

Rooker, in my opinion, would be an immediate boost to the offense, most likely taking over for Connor Joe in Right Field; he is currently batting .278 with 18 HR and 54 RBI on an Oakland team that is not playing for anything, and I can only imagine putting him in a potential playoff race will elevate him even more. Furthermore, the earliest he can reach free agency is 2028, so having him for three and a half seasons would be a very valuable addition.
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But who do you trade for them? Well, for starters, Tremarr Johnson, a 2B/SS in A+, who is Pittsburgh’s #2 overall prospect. A left-handed hitting short-king at 5’8, Johnson, like Chandler, could very well be ready to make the jump to the big leagues by next year or the year after. Johnson alone will not net the Pirates Miller and Rooker, but there are other soon-to-be-ready prospects like Solometo, Harrington, Ashcraft, and others throughout the system that can be packaged to make this a tantalizing deal for the A’s front office.

Yes, I know Pirates fans, I am asking you to sell the farm, but the value of doing so would be to acquire three players who could help you make the playoffs now, and if you get in now, you could very well win it all, Ala the 2019 Washington Nationals; and besides, all three of these players would not be rentals, but rather stalwarts of your team to build around for the next few seasons along with Skenes, Jones, Keller, Reynolds, Cruz and Hayes.

A way to add an exciting storyline to the tale of this season, while strengthening your team both now and for years to come?

Sounds good to me.

 

Aaron is a Writer and communicator who has notably served on the communications team of the Westchester County Executive. Nicknamed "Mr. Baseball" in his youth, Aaron is a lifelong Yankee fan, Tino Martinez and Aaron Judge enthusiast, and a fierce defender of Craig Biggio's Hall of Fame worthiness. When he is not writing, or doing baseball related activities, Aaron is an avid foodie and culinarian. His non-baseball writing can be found at the Realety Check substack.

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