But, But, What Happens When They Trade All Their Good Players?

It’s the natural go to.

The team isn’t as bad as many assumed and while that doesn’t translate to ready to win it all, it still hits some people right in their precious belief system.

I get it entirely. There are plenty of folks out there who fear nothing more than being wrong or having closely held beliefs challenged.

So when the first prediction didn’t go as planned, let’s move on to the ‘fixer’ prediction, which is the title of this piece.

Fact is, they aren’t wrong. There will be more trades, and if improvement of this franchise and how they operate is the goal, there shouldn’t be too many fans who really get up in arms about it.

Now, it’s slightly disingenuous, they won’t trade all their best players.

I like to look at the roster like this, a series of decisions.

As I’ve told you before, look at the control of a player. For instance, Ke’Bryan Hayes isn’t going anywhere, Bryan Reynolds isn’t going anywhere, JT Brubaker isn’t being dealt.

Hey, that sounds like a bunch of their best players who aren’t leaving.

Let’s look at who the team has to make a decision on this year. Because unless someone were to offer a ridiculous package for someone with more control, these are the guys to really think about. The format, is name followed by last year of team control.

Adam Frazier (2022)

Adam has turned himself into a steady second baseman, and the team has no desire to showcase him as a versatile piece, they simply want him to be a second baseman.

The Pirates have tried to have other middle infielders step up and make Adam expendable but it hasn’t happened yet.

The Pirates will have to decide whether they want to extend or move Frazier this year, because he longer they wait the less they’ll get back for him and the more he’ll cost to keep.

Colin Moran (2023)

The club doesn’t have to make a call on Colin this year, but they still might want to start thinking about it. That one extra year of control makes him ok to stay put with no decision but the club needs to honestly evaluate who they have coming that could reasonably take his spot. I don’t see anything close, so again while they don’t have to make a decision, they might want to explore a modest extension.

I do think Colin is a guy who someone might overpay for, so the Pirates should have their ears open.

Tyler Anderson (2021)

He was a one year signing, and his performance just about guarantees he will be a hot commodity come deadline time. He’s not a rock in the rotation but he’s cheap and extremely movable. Exactly the type of signing the Pirates should have brought in for the outfield.

Trevor Cahill (2021)

Same. With the exception teams might look at him as a nice bullpen piece too. Signing guys like this is about helping the team, but it’s also about helping the team in the future by bringing back more pieces..

Richard Rodriguez (2023)

Teams overpay for closers. They don’t have to move Rich Rod but he statistically has been MLB’s second best reliever over the past two seasons and he could easily return a king’s ransom. Especially if they do it earlier than they need to.

Chris Stratton (2023)

Again, they don’t have to, but it’s time to start thinking about it. He’s a versatile piece in the bullpen and the Pirates are trying to use him all over the place in all types of situations.

Kyle Crick (2023)

Really the same as Stratton but more of a focus on back end duties. He might have a tough time burring his last two seasons by this deadline but I’m sure he’ll get some attention.

After that you have your Todd Frazier, Wilmer Difo, Brian Goodwin types and everyone else is pre-arb. meaning at least 3 more full seasons. Ok, Polanco, and Gonzalez are probably available too.

This isn’t a list of everyone who’s going to be traded, this is a list of just about everyone on the table for decisions.

It’s hardly all their good players, and you can’t look at this team and trick yourself into thinking they’ve arrived. They aren’t there and what’s coming will educate some of these moves.

For instance, Miguel Yajure will wind up in this rotation at some point this year, which I can hardly say would be a downgrade from Anderson or Cahill.

This is what building teams do. So yes, they will trade some of these guys, but unless you think you’re watching a World Series team, it really is just part of the process. Prospects aren’t brought in to be prospects forever, they’re brought in to eventually make veterans expendable which leads to more you guessed it, prospects.

Don’t argue with people who say they will trade players, because they aren’t wrong, but realize it’s not without reason. And it’s certainly not all our good players. It’s a series of decisions.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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