With trade deadline approaching, Pirates should go all in

If the Pittsburgh Pirates are buyers at the trade deadline, should they offer prospect Starling Marte?

Looking at the Pittsburgh Pirates roster, this does not appear to be a playoff team. It would make a lot of sense for the Pirates organization to say, “let’s not be too aggressive; we have more top-level talent on the way, and we’ll wait for the right time to jump into division contention.” They can probably squeeze some mid-level prospects for veterans Erik Bedard and A.J. Burnett, who’s pitched very well this year, and maybe even something for Rod Barajas. That would be a steady, conservative and smart way to go about this.

Prudent, yes. But, I would go the other way.

The Pirates have gone through unbelievable futility over the last 20 years, and the fans have probably heard a half dozen times to be patient and that young talent is on the way. Last year, they were in first place late in the year and collapsed. They can’t let that dictate what they do this year. They are in a mediocre division which could probably be won with 86 to 88 wins. The big question: How bold do you want to be? I think they caught an excellent break this year when Mark Appel fell to them at number eight in the draft. A polished pitcher who shouldn’t spend too much time in the minors. Gerrit Cole is off the table no matter what. So that leaves two big chips in Jameson Taillon and Starling Marte.

The Pirates pitching has been very good this year, with a dominant season from James McDonald, good contributions from the veterans Bedard and Burnett, and an excellent bullpen led by Joel Hanrahan and Jason Grilli. The offense has been bad, but I would expect Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Garret Jones all to hit better as the season progresses. If you’re going to make your move, do you go pitching with the thought process that your pitching has been much better than expected, so now get a proven front-of-the-rotation guy who can carry you home, or do you get a player to jump start your offense?

Of the top offensive players most likely to be available (Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Francoeur, Carlos Quentin, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham), none have the “put you over the hump” ability. The Rockies are in such dissaray right now and need so much help that rumors have surfaced of Troy Tulowitzki potentially being on the block. I don’t disagree with that thinking, and it’s definitely worth a phone call even with his substantial contract, but I can’t see him getting moved. The guy I’d be looking at is Hanley Ramirez. This might be the time to move him. Although I don’t expect the Marlins to concede anything at this point, too many things are not firing for them to expect them to get back in the race. Although Hanley comes with some baggage, he is a difference-making offensive player who would fill a black hole at shortstop for the Pirates and is under contract for a couple of more years at reasonable money.

On the pitching end, there’s not a ton to get excited about. Ryan Dempster and Wandy Rodriguez are solid but not worth top-level prospects. Being in contention, the White Sox will most likely not put Jake Peavy on the block. The only top-level pitcher to be had will probably be Zack Greinke. Although he is a free agent after the year, Pittsburgh could be a good landing spot for Greinke, who is looking to play in a small market.

For those top-level guys, I would trade Marte and even Taillon, as well. Prospects are great but it’s time for Pirates ownership to throw their fans the bone that could lead to a division title.


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  1. LOL UPTON is a different animal then Greinke WHY? Because he’s under contract through 2015. To answer your question no I would not trade taillon. It seems to me if they are shopping him they really don’t want him a package of Marte/Tabata maybe in addition to Locke/or ownes and maybe someone like Brad Lincoln or Heredia would get a deal done i think. FOR ME Cole Taillon Bell and Hanson are untouchable.

  2. As a Pirate fan you wouldn’t want the team to trade Taillon and Marte if it got them Justin Upton.

  3. See you skipped over the entire small market and budget argument I made and how TB is able to compete every year because they DON’T make reckless moves. Mark Appel is he even signed yet? Yes sports is about opportunity and Pirates will have the opportunity to compete EVERY YEAR with pitchers like Taillon and Cole in the fold that is if Cole isn’t traded for Ryan Dempster….

  4. As far as Greinke I think the Pirates have a great chance to re-sign him if he was in the fold. I also think the fortune of having Mark Appel fall to them allows them the luxury of trading Taillon. Also sports is about opportunity and next year it may take 95 wins to win the division.

  5.  I am a Pirates fan as well but it’s a stupid move. Pirates are on the cusp for the first time in the 20 year span of not only competing BUT producing legit controllable waves(at the very least a wave) of talent to their major league club. Small market clubs like TB have have had sustainable success because they dont blow their budget and farm on one deal for 3 or 4 months of Greinke. 6 years of Taillon and Cole > 3 months of Greinke

  6. I’m trying to think about it from a Pirate fan’s point of view. I have a chance to win a division this year. I’ve heard about prospects for the last two decades.

  7. Trading Jameson Taillon for Greinke is one of the dumbest trade ideas i’ve ever heard. Greinke is a FA after the season WHY on earth would the Pirates even consider that deal 20 years or no 20 years. Im fine with dealing Marte on the other hand if it lands someone controllable for 2-3 years and addresses a weakness on offense. 

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