What Can We Really Expect at the Deadline?

7-7-21 – By Gary Morgan

We at Inside the Bucs Basement have covered the trade deadline deeper than ever this season as Joe Boyd and Justin Verno have built out the value for just about every player another team might want.

That’s an important distinction, players other teams might want, because without that aspect first and foremost there is not likely to be a trade. It’s why we never wrote about Gregory Polanco for instance. I mean of course the Pirates would trade him if someone wanted him, we just don’t see that as feasible and that was before the injury.

Because I think people are as usual losing their minds a bit or assuming every rumor will be exercised I believe we need to go through player by player and identify their likelihood of being moved.

Tyler Anderson – Almost for Sure

Tyler is a classic rental. Let’s face it, when you sign a free agent to a one year deal at this stage of a build, this is the dream. Bring in a guy on a reasonable deal, have him perform and flip him for prospects.

Now, let’s be honest, it doesn’t work nearly as often as you’d hope, so when it does come together, be happy.

A contender doesn’t bring a guy like Tyler in at the beginning of the season. See, he’s not expected to carry a staff on one of those clubs he’s expected to sign somewhere like Pittsburgh where they have more room to allow him time to figure things out in the hopes he can be moved. Every once in a while that player will show he figured things out on his own and it becomes a perfect storm.

Someone will want Anderson, and the Pirates will find a partner, it’s just a matter of how much and who.

Adam Frazier – Almost for Sure

I should be clear here because we write about him all the time, nobody wants to see Adam go. As we speak the bidding war is ongoing, and Ben Cherington is asking for the moon. Top prospects are on the menu and more importantly his control extends through the end of 2022 which makes him firstly more valuable, and secondly gives the Pirates the ability to play chicken a bit here.

Should they want to make teams sweat and juice the pot a bit, they have wiggle room to do so. Adam is having a career year so not getting it done before this deadline could feasibly cost the Pirates real currency, prospect currency.

He almost has to move at this deadline. Almost being the key word.

Richard Rodriguez – Almost for Sure

I keep seeing people say “why would the Pirates need an elite closer?”.

My first thought would be, is that really how you see him? Is that how you think the league sees him? I say this for tempering expectations rather than diminishing the player. He’s our closer, but I can’t sit here and say that’s the role he’d be used by a contender. Not unlike when the Pirates got players like Keone Kela or Octavio Dotel.

Point is, you’re right, they don’t need a quality back end pitcher in a season where they rarely get to him.

Someone will want him, and the Pirates have other options to fill the role moving forward like David Bednar (speaking of whom isn’t getting traded, period.)

Chris Stratton, Chasen Shreve, & Kyle Crick – Eh, Maybe

Arms are a hot commodity. Even when you watch and hold your breath as Kyle Crick walks the bases loaded before striking out the side realize that beyond the numbers just about every team in the league has seen that slider, and probably think they can fix him. Chris Stratton has been near the top of the league in spin rate for two seasons now and now that the league has cracked down on sticky stuff, the fact he hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth makes him even more impressive. Shreve is a lefty rental, and really I’m not sure what more you need to know.

Any or all of these players could go and I’d list their order of probability exactly as I have in the headline. Ordinarily I’d tell you Crick is the most attractive because of control but his control on the mound is precisely why I don’t see it. What contender wants that kind of unpredictability anywhere near the back of their bullpen?

Jacob Stallings – Very Unlikely

Oh, teams would want him and he’d bring back something worthwhile I’m sure. Maybe I’m putting too much faith in the Pirates here but being as they have nobody in the pipeline for the position, I think they’ll find his value to the pitching staff more important than bringing in a few prospects.

I’ve heard that defensive catchers are a dime a dozen, and here’s what’s funny about that, the very reason you think he’s valuable to other teams disputes that doesn’t it?

He’s controlled for so long (trough 2024) that returning the type of value he’d command won’t be palatable to many teams, and it’s hard to argue unless the Pirates get a catcher at least in AAA in return who has a real future in trades they could be doing more damage than good.

Again, I could be giving them too much credit here.

Bryan Reynolds & Ke’Bryan Hayes – Flat No

Oh, the Pirates will listen.

Want to know why? Because a GM will always listen. It gives them intel, opens conversation doors and even can be useful way down the road when a player actually could be up for something like this.

People envision these calls all wrong by in large. Most people think a team exec calls Ben Cherington and someone says “Hey Ben, what would it take to get Reynolds or Hayes from you?” and if Cherington does anything other than hang up the phone after telling off the greedy SOB who’d dare to ask he must be thinking about it right?

First of all, we don’t know he’s done anything aside from that honestly. The answer here is really more about the king’s ransom it would require, one that I can only identify 2 contending teams could afford.

Fact is, these rumors are typically pulled together by teams that have zero experience in rebuilding an organization. For instance, you’ll see things like this from the Yankees bloggers, and even some actual outlets who employ people who used to be in touch and no longer understand the game they’re covering.

Bryan Reynolds isn’t a free agent until 2026, so when you see proposals, and I use that term loosely, that offer things in return like Clint Frazier and two minor leaguers, you should laugh that off really easily. I know Ben would. Point being, because they don’t engage in rebuilds themselves they see it as indiscriminate selling of everything of value, and it’s just not that simple. At this stage, it’s little more than a compliment that they have good young players.

Again, teams wanting a player shouldn’t surprise you, but think of it this way. Let’s say the Giants want the Pirates top chip, Adam Frazier, he’d fit right in and the Pirates would rightly want a nice return. Think they’d give up their long cultivated top prospect catcher Joey Bart? No, of course not, Posey isn’t going to be around forever. But don’t you want your GM to ask? Let’s try another, the Nationals media seem to think Victor Robles would be a carrot that would have the Pirates salivating but if they called on Reynolds why would they want an inferior player with less control in exchange for him? I hesitate to flatly call this stupid, but if the shoe fits…

Reynolds and Hayes aren’t going anywhere.

In Closing…

I’m not going to go through every single player on the roster, but I think this gives you a real picture of what you can expect. The Pirates could move any number of players but three are likely.

They have to find landing spots for everyone they draft and will bring in more prospects of course via trades. So moving out players who are potentially already answers and have the control to do so probably isn’t in the cards.

We of course must leave room for desperate teams to offer desperate returns, but there is a wide stretch of road between desperate and foolish. If you want to argue, that’s fine, I could certainly be wrong, but I don’t see the Pirates making more than 3-4 deals especially with MLB not allowing the transfer of International Pool space this season.

Since the off season of 2019 we fans have believed rebuild should look a whole lot more like a house cleaning than a piece by piece selling based on logic. Ben Cherington thus far has disagreed. He moved one player, Starling Marte that off season. Last season at the deadline the biggest chips simply didn’t move. In the off season Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove and Josh Bell were all moved.

He’s remained fairly conservative actually, and I don’t see it changing just because. So, while 24 of the 26 man roster could be traded, I think 3 or 4 is much more realistic. And more importantly than anything, chill on the Reynolds stuff folks, it would actually be strange if you didn’t hear his name.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

2 thoughts on “What Can We Really Expect at the Deadline?

  1. Nice article. It’s fun to read competent material. I’m sure we all get annoyed with the people who say what does it matter bob nutting will never spend money anyway, but it’s good to read such a good article on what to expect this deadline.

    Liked by 1 person

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