Big Joe Musgrove Goes Home for a Haul of Prospects

By now you all heard the news, Joe Musgrove has been traded to the San Diego Padres in a three team deal that brought 5 prospects back to the Pirates. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this doesn’t help the 2021 Pirates in any way, in fact it’s a big blow. That said, I’ll equally state strongly, this was not a decent return, this was an excellent return.

Before we get into breaking down who’s coming let’s take a moment to talk about what the Pirates gave up. Joe Musgrove was an inconsistent starting pitcher who had a five pitch mix and struggled to have 4 in one game most of the time. When he did though, look out, because he was tough to hit.

Toward the end of 2020 after returning from injury we really got to see the best of Joe and importantly so did the league. To be very clear, I saw Joe as someone the team could have potentially extended to act as the veteran leader of the staff if not the team through the next window, but it’s hard to deny this move made that window a whole lot more of an expectation than a hope.

He was always going to be the Pirates biggest chip this Winter, yes bigger than Josh Bell, pitching almost always is unless the power is so consistent you can’t ignore it.

So, a hearty thank you to Joe Musgrove, I loved his attitude, his moxie and mostly I just loved watching him compete, because no matter the results he never cheated you for effort. Good luck as a Padre!

Now onto the trade.

Pirates Got a Legit Haul for Joe

I mean, where do I begin?

Perhaps this breakdown from Dejan Kovacavic is the right place to start.

That’s right, three of the top 20 prospects from the Padres system but wait there’s more.

OK, I’ve let the genuine news men tell you what happened now let me dig in and tell you a little more to bring this to life.

The Bucs Got that Catching Prospect

Let’s start with Endy Rodriguez from the Mets who technically came from the Padres moving Joey Lucchesi as part of this deal. The assumption here is that the Padres were unwilling to part with one of their catchers, at least one the Pirates wanted so a third team was brought in to get what Cherington was looking for.

He’s 20, ok almost 21 and he just spend his first season in MiLB in 2019, obviously didn’t play last year. A switch hitter, he has racked up between his time in the Gulf Coast league and the DSL an .840 OPS and a .389 OBP. Endy was the Mets number 14 prospect and fills the bill for catcher of the future potentially, though I’d be shocked if the Pirates rested in that knowledge.

This part of the deal took some imagination, and while he’s young he’s also exactly the type of prospect the club needed at the catching position.

From the Padres

First and foremost, you have to toss Lucchesi in because he was part of the deal initially and that led to Rodriguez, but I’ll not dwell on him much because he’s the Mets end of this deal now and we’ll let them handle talking him up.

The headliner is undoubtedly Hudson Head. The young lefty is a centerfielder and the Padres third round selection in the 2019 draft and he’s been ranked as high as number 7 in their system.

It’s just a swing but take a look by all means.

This was a good get, and the club certainly needs more talent in the outfield even if he’s nowhere near MLB. The Padres paid a 3 million dollar bonus to secure him after drafting him in the third round, and that had never been done before that which alone means nothing, remember the Pirates did much the same for Josh Bell in the second round too.

The next one is Omar Cruz who I must say, Craig and I both have coveted since we started looking at the Padres as a trade partner. The 6 foot lefty has been ranked as high as 15 in their list of prospects and has an ETA of 2023-24 for making the show. None of his pitches jump off the page but he fills the zone and shows signs of understanding his craft. Also did I mention he was a lefty? Like this shouldn’t be that big of a deal but c’mon all we have are righties.

Next up is the hometown kid David Bednar who is from Mars, PA and he is no prospect, he’s an actual MLB reliever with a 96 MPH fastball. He’s thrown roughly 16 innings in the majors and 14 of them were very good with two outings blowing his ERA out of control. We’ll have to wait to see what the Pirates want to do with him but at 26 it’s likely he sticks with the big club.

Last but not least Drake Fellows

This video is about all I can show you. He was drafted in the 6th round out of Vanderbilt and he has nothing for me to tell you about in the Padres system. Hey, it’s an arm.

So What Do We Think?

I said at the beginning, no smoke, this is a fantastic return. The chances these 5 players in some combination provide more than Joe would have in his two remaining years coupled with the timing of when they’d provide it make this exactly what the Bucs were looking for. Again, it doesn’t help this year, nor should you have expected it to, but it will add to the chances this window opens and when it does they continue to add depth to the system that will prop in in the right position for a while.

When you consider what the Pirates lacked in the system, its fair to call this a surgical transaction as it hits three of the four most dire areas right in the mouth.

I’ll miss watching Joe in Black and Gold but I have nothing bad to say about this deal.

And, I still don’t think they’re done.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

5 thoughts on “Big Joe Musgrove Goes Home for a Haul of Prospects

  1. Fantastic breakdown. Super stoked about the catching prospect and the LHP.

    Looking at the offseason, it looks like BC is going with high upside super youngsters (completely understandable) but I am slightly scratching my head at the Bednar/Crowe aspects of the trades. Is the thinking that they might contribute to the team this year as innings eaters? Are they stopgap pitchers until the farm develops or is BC thinking they are potential contributors for several seasons? I guess we will see when training camp wraps up but it is the only question mark to me in an otherwise excellent haul of prospects over the last few trades.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bednar has control and potential with a plus fastball. Tell you what he is, a Kyle Crick type, acquired at the exact same stage too. Hel’ll compete for the pen and maybe win a spot, if not guys like him are better to have in AAA than Brandon Waddell if you catch my drift. Crowe, same thing. They have about well now six SP with experience, and 3 more who are qualified, still might move another, Crowe is a possibility with a ton of control, if he works out, bonus, Yean was the prize there. Crowe is probably a bit better than Ponce right now. It insulated the team from rushing Bolton or even younger. Lol I damn near wrote another article.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the deal a lot. New GM knew this, his biggest deal, would be examined closely. I think he’s smart and I really think it will bring huge benefits in a year. We are building young arms to pair up with our stud in waiting Quinn Priester.

    Liked by 1 person

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