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Trade Talk: The Pittsbrgh Pirates

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Everyone was excited about the Pirates last year when they led the NL Central as late as the middle of the July. That was a great story, but this feels completely different. This year the Pirates are 20 games over .500 and were the first team in MLB to win 50 games. Of course, last year they were sixteen games over .500 on August 1st – and STILL managed to finish below .500 for the 173rd consecutive year.

So they’re buyers, but they don’t have a ton of needs. That might work out well, since they’re reportedly hesitant to give up too much of their farm system. Limited expectations work out well when considering a trade with the Twins.

What They Need
Offensively, like last year, the Pirates have been in the lower half of runs scored in the National League. Things have been particularly ugly in right field with a batting average of .227 and an OPS of 656. By ways of comparison, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has a 684 OPS. So it would be nice if the Twins had a corner outfielder to offer, especially if he was a right-handed slugger to team up with left-handed hitting Pedro Alvarez.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop taking prozac.

There is also some thought that they could use starting pitching, because they aren’t sure if AJ Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez will be returning soon.

What Might Work
It’s going to have to be a small deal, probably involving a starting pitcher. But don’t expect it to be Kevin Correia – he was a Pirate last year and was demoted to the bullpen by them. I guess that leaves Mike Pelfrey, though I suppose they might be interested in a cheaper younger option like Scott Diamond or Sam Deduno. After all, this is the team that turned around Francisco Liriano, who has a 2.23 ERA with the through 10 games.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

As for the outfielder, the other name that might have made sense is Ryan Doumit – except that he was also a Pirate and I doubt there’s more appetite there for him. The best fit I can come up with is sending them Trevor Plouffe and move him to right field.

Sleeper Targets

Tony Sanchez – C – AAA – 25 years old
Sanchez wasn’t a top 10 Pirates prospect coming into the season, and he’ll be stuck in a backup role for the next couple year now that the Pirates signed Russell Martin. But he’s surprising everyone by slugging .536 in AAA this year (and from the right side, no less). Now THAT would be nice to pair with Mauer for a few years.

Wyatt Mathisen – C – Low A – 19 years old
The 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft, he’s struggling mightily right now in A ball. With the Twins seemingly focused on adding young catching in this year’s draft, why not pick up a second rounder?

Jordy Mercer – SS – MLB – 25 years old
Another somewhat promising guy who is stuck behind a veteran in Pittsburgh. He’s at best an average regular, but he’s an average regular with some pop in his bat. He slugged .411 overall in AAA is getting better each year.

Dream Target
Glen Perkins is probably of limited interest: the prospect price is too high and their closer, Jason Grilli, may be going to the All-Star Game. If the Twins are going to make a big deal with the Pirates, it’ll need to involve Perkins and be part of a three-way trade.

Tyler Glasnow – RHP – High A –19 years old
You were probably expecting to see Jameson Taillon here, the right-handed starter who has been topping their prospect list for years and is now in AA. I purposely avoided him because the Bucs claim they don’t want to move any big names. Instead, I went down the list to a breakout player at High A who is looking even more impressive - and might be just as untouchable.

Glasnow didn’t make the Pirates Top 10 list by Baseball America last year – but vaulted up to 5th in a recent update by Jim Callis. Posting 103 strikeouts in 70.1 innings will do that. He’s 6’ 7”, has a 93 mph fastball and shows a possible above average curveball. And at just 19 years old, the sky’s the limit.

Throughout July, we’ll be publishing a profile of a MLB and whether there is any possible fit for a trade with the Twins. For more, check out our previous trade talks:


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