The Pirates Still Have To Play Out The Rest Of The Season

Every since Adam Frazier was removed in bottom of 8th inning from Pittsburgh’s series finale with the San Francisco Giants, and possibly before that due to all of the draft signings, the current season has been put on the proverbial back burner.

This is not an implied accusation that we should be paying more attention to the Big League Club, as I myself have fallen victim to the waves of trades, rumors and continued dominance demonstrated by General Manager Ben Cherington and Company in their ability to finagle the Pirates Draft Pool into five top prospects according to MLB Pipeline. Hell, I even forgot to write my scheduled game recap on Sunday night, which I just realized now, because I was knee deep in return evaluation mode; even though Gary was handling that story.

And, to be completely honest it probably just registered at this very moment considering the Clay Holmes trade forced me to stay on the prospect side of things; which has continued to happen as Tyler Anderson was first going to the Phillies if a prospect’s medical issues didn’t get in the way, but is now a Mariner, with two new prospects to evaluate. And to top it all off, Richard Rodriguez rumors have started to shift into overdrive.

However, before I fully go down that rabbit hole, at least some focus needs to be put on some players of note that are on the Major League Roster, what these acquisitions could mean for the future of quite a few players in the Minors and the goals for the remainder of the Pirates season and beyond; on top of numerous other topics I have seen mentioned.

In order to stay on topic(s), and allow it/them to be easily digested, a good old fashion News and Notes-found at the bottom of every game recap-seems pretty appropriate at this point in time.

News and Notes

  • Every Pirates Fan remembers the display that Ke’Bryan Hayes put on last September. Slashing .376/.442/.682 with 5 homers and 14 total extra base hits in just 95 plate appearances, across 24 games. Then came the Spring, where he continued to mash. Finally we were brought to Opening Day in Wrigley when he hit a no doubt 2-run homer through the Chicago wind in his first at-bat of the season. Unfortunately, for Hayes and the Pirates the next game would bring a wrist injury that kept him out of the lineup until June 3rd. But, not to worry, he came out of the gate with the same fury he did in 2020; with a .304 AVG, 2 bombs (or technically 3) and 7 extra base hits. At that point the league starting pushing back, causing Hayes to 1 for 22 over his six games; ultimately leading to a game off and a little bit of a reset over the 4th of July Holiday. Since, that time Hayes has begun his own push back, which has resulted in a .277 AVG over this time frame-July 5th to the Present. However, if you have actually been watching these games it doesn’t look nearly as promising, as Hayes has been striking out at a 30.6% clip-a full 10 to 15 points over his normal rate at any point in his professional career-and has been made to look just plain silly at times. Luckily, and predictably, the defense has remained, which is where his main value and in turn his high floor was alway going to come from. Now obviously, Ke’Bryan is young and still has time to adjust and push back again. Nevertheless, what if this is his baseline? A .260 to .275 hitter with power that brings 10 to 15 homers a season? A 2 to 4 WAR player, instead of the 5 to 7+ WAR player, that many had begun to tout him as? It’s just a thought, and clearly not a bad thing to have a player of that caliber on the team. Still, Ke’ needs to push back hard, and push back soon.
  • As it stands currently, Pittsburgh’s starting rotation consists of Chad Kuhl, JT Brubaker, probably Steven Brault as he is set to come of the 60-Day IL and some combination of Max Kranick, Cody Ponce and possibly Miguel Yajure if he comes back at the end of August/beginning of September. Of course there are also “arms” in Indianapolis, and hopefully a rejuvenated Mitch Kelller-which is not want i saw from my seats at the Vic on Saturday night-because the innings over the next 62 games are going to have to come from somewhere.
  • Speaking of innings. Derek Shelton has reported that JT Brubaker’s innings are going to be managed (aka limited) over the remainder of his season; hence the the 4 inning, 69 pitch outing on Sunday Afternoon in San Francisco. As some of you remember Brubaker’s 2019 season in the Minors was abruptly ended after only 27.2 innings due to a forearm strain, and his 2020 consisted of 47.1 innings across 11 appearances-9 of them starts. He is already up to 96.1 innings of this year and has struggled mightily as of late; especially when it comes to the long ball. On the season JT has surrendered 21 homers. This equates out to just below 2 homers per 9 innings (1.96), good for 6th worst in the league for pitchers with 90+ innings of work.
  • Pirates Fans, Bloggers and Journalists alike are finally getting on board with Gary’s 40-Man/Rule 5 Draft Roster Crunch.

Do the Pirates Actually Need to Chill on Bringing in Prospects?

  • Ethan has a spreadsheet as well for you to peruse.

  • Most importantly it has to be remembered that there are guys on this team that still matter to the future of the ball club, even some that may only be here for the present. The Pirates just can’t roll over for the remainder and #TankForElijah as some would have them do. There is no World Series Trophy for winning the MLB Draft or The Trade Deadline. Yes, the Pirates will more than likely continue to lose more than they win, but hopefully we see less 0 for 15 games from the Pirates top 4 like we did last night.

Around 60 games of below average ball are left to be play. We, as Pirates Fans, have been here before, most recently in the disastrous truncated 2020 season. It’s not going to be real fun, and at times you may turn of the TV in the middle of a game. BUT, the Pirates players can’t. They will have to make their way to 162. Hopefully, with some of them ending their seasons on a high note; while some maintain form. That’s truthfully the best we can hope for.

Two Guys Talkin’ Trades – Tyler Anderson

7-28-21 – By Joe Boyd

I was on vacation for the first flurry of trade activity down at 115 Federal St.  But luckily, Justin was around to keep us abreast of the action.  I’m back, and just my luck, a blockbuster falls into my lap! Then out of my lap.. Then back into my lap. 

Tyler Anderson for Carter Bins, C & Joaquin Tejada, RHP

The packages from Philadelphia and Seattle look eerily similar here.  The original deal had Abrahan Gutierrez, C (35+ FV, $1.0M) and Christian Hernandez, RHP (40FV, $1.0M) for Anderson ($4.7M).  This deal is for Carter Bins, C (40FV, $2.0M) and Joaquin Tejada, RHP (40FV, $1.0M). 

According to Fangraphs, Bins “has plus bat speed, rare speed for a catcher, and in college had a really athletic build. His build has thickened since he was drafted and he’s now put together more like a typical catcher, though it hasn’t cost him much twitch or explosion. Bins’ swing is grooved and he needs defensive polish, but he at least has raw power/arm strength carrying tools and a good chance to be a whiff-prone backup.”  If you look at the full scouting report for Bins, they are low on his Hit Tool (40FV) and give him rather average power (45FV).  This season, however, Bins has shown some incredible ability to get on base (.422 OBP) and above average power (.209 ISO) despite striking out at a 29% clip.  So that scouting report may actually come to fruition, but the athleticism is certainly an intriguing factor.  Bins has been slotted into the #42 slot in Pittsburgh’s system, he was 29th in Seattle’s. 

Tejada is young, just 18 years old, so he has some time to develop.  Fangraphs does not have a proper scouting report on him, but they do put grades on his stuff.  While currently, his fastball only hits 90-92 and is graded as a 40FV, he does have an intriguing plus (60-FV) curveball. He also projects to have a 55-FV slider and average command.  I plugged Tejada into my Sim Score projections and his best comp is Yoljeldriz Diaz in the Yankees system.  In that write up, Longenhagen said, “Because he doesn’t have clear, framed-based velocity projection, it’s important that he either develop a bevy of good pitches or sniper’s command”  Now that’s for Diaz, but considering Tejada has a plus delivery and plus athleticism, he has the opportunity/ability to do both. Tejada has slotted into the #40 slot in Pittsburgh’s system. 

So that’s a package of young prospects for $3.0M which falls pretty far below our valuation.  That being said, both have these prospects bring with them some serious intrigue.  I love the opportunity to add an athletic catcher to the system.  And on top of that a young, developing pitcher that has the opportunity and the traits to develop into the main piece of the deal.  
Update:  Fangraphs did put together a report on Tejada: “​​Tejada threw just five innings in the DSL before he was traded to the Pirates. He’s an athletic, 5-foot-11 righty with a high arm 3/4s arm slot. He doesn’t throw especially hard, only sitting in the low-90s right now, but his fastball has considerable movement despite lacking explosive spin. Tejada has real talent for spinning a breaking ball, with his breakers rotating in at around 2900rpm on average. DSL TrackMan data is a little less reliable but it, plus a little bit of video, is what I have to go off in this instance. Tejada has an athletic delivery and is well-built even though he’s not especially tall. He’s not a lock to throw harder but has a shot to, and it’s the main thing missing from an interesting stuff foundation for such a young arm.”

Pirates Trade Lefty Tyler Anderson (AGAIN!) This Time to Seattle for Two Single A Players (For Real)

7-27-21 – By Gary Morgan

Tyler Anderson was a perfectly executed sign and flip player. He had a decent history, much of it spent in Colorado, but still he was a bet, one that Ben Cherington hoped would pay off. Of course this type of thing rarely does turn out, but it can’t be argued, this one was a roaring success.

Anderson provided a veteran presence, consistency and in a year it matters more than most, innings. Now he has provided more talent to the system, by way of a deal with the Phillies.

Now, earlier today I wrote up the deal the Pirates had in place with the Phillies. It was finalized according to multiple sources but apparently a medical issue with one of the two prospects below shut the deal down. I’m going to leave the proposed return here for context and I’ll leave in my original take too. This story unfolded in a weird way, might as well be presented in that fashion as well. You can find them below the actual deal with Seattle.

The Actual Deal with Seattle

OK, well this was a weird journey. Tyler Anderson is a Mariner.

Carter Bins is a Catcher and outfielder who has put together a nice season in High A before his recent promotion to AA. He’s still listed as an outfielder but hasn’t played there since 2019. This move satisfies something the Pirates were trying to get done, solidifying the catching group in the lower levels into a formidable group of four. Bins will likely be the 2nd or 3rd ranked catcher in the system, but arguably could get here before anyone else. Defensively, he’s said to be a good receiver of the ball, but his caught stealing figures (16%) in Single A and (20%) in Double A aren’t scaring runners into staying put.

Joaquin Tejada is a total lottery ticket. He’s 18 years old, by a couple days and has all of 5 innings pitched in the DOSL.

For the Pirates, it’s clear the catcher was something they coveted, it’s rare when you have two deals to compare and that’s something we can use to our advantage to see what they’re up to.

My Take on the Seattle Deal

It’s a little less interesting than the deal they had set up with Philly. But still not a bad return for a rental. In fact if I didn’t have the benefit of seeing what almost was, I’d simply say, I’m pretty happy with this deal. It addresses getting a worthwhile catching prospect a bit closer to MLB, and how can you evaluate an 18 year old who has pitched one game really.

The First Deal with Philadelphia

Cristian Hernandez is arguably the biggest chip in this package and is currently Philly’s number 29 Prospect. The 20 year old right handed pitcher currently in Single A pitched well in his pro debut back in 2018 before missing all of 2019 with injury and 2020 with the MiLB shutdown.

He’s appeared in 14 games, 12 of which were starts racking up 74 strike outs and 22 walks in 56.2 innings. He has tools are all above average but nothing jumps off the charts as overwhelming.

Abraham Gutierrez is a 21 year old high A Catcher and DH has a nice record of seeing the ball well and this season in 213 plate appearances has a .285 average with 9 doubles and 5 homeruns. His most impressive stat might be his 36 walks to 29 strike outs.

Defensively he has 3 errors and a caught stealing percentage of 24%. Scouts seem to think he can stick at catcher but his bat will decide whether it matters or not.

My (Philly) Take

Anderson did exactly what he was supposed to do and we as fans should all be very grateful for his service. He’s been a consummate pro and on top of that returned a couple prospects. Both of these players are again in need of rule five protection, but at this point we simply need to stop worrying about it until the dust settles.

It’s not a bad move, to turn a rental pitcher into someone’s top 30 player plus another lottery ticket it’s hard to complain.

On the surface, most people will assume the Bucs got more for Clay Holmes than they did Tyler Anderson, which I guess I can chalk up to a couple things. 1. Most of you thought Clay Holmes sucked and the return could have been a Gumby doll and a book of stamps, you’d celebrate. The fact they got two guys some of you heard of and Yankees fans were sad (hint they always are) it came across as ‘awesome’. 2. Many of you seemed to think because Anderson was decent here he was somehow worth extending so of course two single A players seems light.

Hernandez is the real get here. Truth is, if you like Eddy Yean, these are very similar players in their development. Gutierrez adds to catching depth that despite picking Henry Davis first overall still needs attention.

Overall, good move and return for a rental pitcher. Have to understand the value of control, and the Pirates have none here.

I expect Richard Rodriguez to drop soon, the Blue Jays and Phillies are both seemingly countering each other and that can only mean good things for the Bucs.

Brewers Defeat Pirates 9-0, Luis Oviedo Rocked in First MLB Start

7-27-21 – By Gary Morgan

I mean, if you don’t score you can’t win. That said, if you give up 8 runs in two innings after the team has watched two, then three, then two, well still kinda three players moved in three days time, it’s not surprising not many looked like they were feeling it.

In fact Jacob Stallings and Ben Gamel provided all the offense tonight for the Bucs with their 4 hits.

Luis Oviedo started and just got touched up in his one inning of work, coughing up 6 Earned runs and 8 total. Nick Mears would follow and toss two scoreless, followed by Cody Ponce who through a brilliant 5 innings with only 3 hits and a walk. He basically had a great start tonight, just didn’t start it until the 4th.

Kyle Keller gave up a bomb to Tellez in the 9th to make it 9-0.

Let me leave you with one observation that had next to nothing to do with the score. Ben Gamel, Jacob Stallings and John Nogowski were the only position players who didn’t look like he’d rather be somewhere else. I don’t say that to paint others in a bad light, I say that instead to say, these types of players, guys who have themselves been cut, who have been traded in many cases. Veteran types who have an understanding that the family takes losses but together with the new players the family will rebound.

Gamel led by example. Diving for balls down 8-0. Taking good, intense at bats down 8-0. Hustling first to third on a single down 8-0. Feeling the weight of two friends being moved and another sitting in the dugout knowing he would soon join them. That’s what leaders do, that’s what leaders teach the future leaders to do.

Ben Gamel may be playing his only season as a Pirate, he may return next year, but one thing is for sure, in his time here, he is going to make an impact, because more talented players are on the way, when they get here, in order to maximize that talent, learning to play the game the way Gamel does would go miles.

Adrian Houser vs TBD tomorrow. This is going to be a long week.

News & Notes

  • As of this writing, the Tyler Anderson trade with the Philadelphia Phillies is officially on hold. There appears to be a health concern with one of the reported prospects the Pirates were receiving for the lefty starter. I’ll update the story when finalized details come in or a new trade is completed.
  • Rumors are hot for Richard Rodriguez, both the Blue Jays and Phillies are in contention reportedly. The Mets were mentioned early in the day but that has quieted.
  • I don’t think this means anything, but I have to note, Bryan Reynolds was removed from the game in the 9th. Didn’t seem to be injured. Really don’t believe he is on the block. Could just be being down 8-0. Could even be just as simple as wanting to let Oliva take some mileage off Bryan’s knees.
  • I’m struggling to understand why Ponce didn’t start this one. Hey, maybe being down 8-0 already when he came in gave him an opportunity to just pitch and he wouldn’t have started that nicely. Just seemed odd to force Oviedo into service if you have Ponce available.
  • Kyle Keller has given up 9 hits this season. 4 homeruns, 2 doubles.
  • The Broadcast referred to the crowd noise as Brewers fans cheering BREWS!!! but I think you know what was really raining down on the club. Evidenced by the Bronx cheer for Evans walking in the 9th.
  • Jandel Gustave the former Bucco pitched the 9th for the Brewers.

Clay Holmes Has Been…Traded?!?!

If I was being asked to finish this sentence before 5:30 PM this afternoon, my honest answer would have consisted of three words, with none of those being traded, to, or Yankees; unless cash considerations were involved.

This assessment is not a knock on Holmes by any means as I was as surprised as pretty much everyone that Clay had been non-tendered by the Pirates back at the beginning of December; and was as hopeful as anyone-aside from maybe Gary- that he was signed to a Minor League Deal less than a week later. You see, in my eyes Holmes was always one of those guys that seemed to just have so much unlocked potential; first as a starter in the Minors, and then ultimately as a reliever when push came to shove in his last three years with the Pirates.

I mean, just look at his production in May of this year. 11 appearances across 10 innings of work, 0 earned runs and 10 strike outs to 3 free passes. The guy was literally untouchable for a full month of baseball. Unfortunately from Holmes the calendar would flip, and along with it, his production. Over the past two month of games, Clay has posted a 7.45 ERA, a 1.865 WHIP and walked (18) almost as many batters as he has struck out (20). So, obviously not very good; which is why his number being called after Adam Frazier, and before names like Richard Rodriguez, Tyler Anderson and Chris Stratton was a bit of a surprise. And, on the surface so was the return; especially the first name I saw mentioned coming back from the Yankees.

Diego Castillo is a player I first remember looking at as a possible part of the return in the Jameson Taillon trade this past offseason, as well as a guy I have decided to keep my eye on since then. In 58 games this season, the 23 year old Castillo (#22 Prospect On Fangraphs)-who plays everywhere on the infield except first base-has impressed at Double A-Somerset; putting up a .277/.345/.504 slash line, with 11 home runs and a 127 wRC+.

Meanwhile, the other prospect in the trade is someone I became familiar with due to the fact that he has spent most of his time this year in Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with the RailRiders, where my college friend is a broadcaster; and I have been known to tune in a time or two to the games on the MiLB App. Shout out to Adam Marco.

Prior to the start of this season Hoy Jun Park was a decent, glove first middle infielder; finishing the 2019 season season in Double A-Trenton with a .272 AVG and three homers. And truthfully, he remained that way through the first 10 games of the season as well, before he received the promotion to the RailRiders. Now in his last 48 games, he has become a somewhat hard hitting super utility player, who has slashed .327/.475/.567 with 10 bombs and walks just as much as he strikes out-20.6% of the time.

So, we all know what happens next? Holmes finally unlocks that untapped potential and becomes the perfect set up man at the back of the Yankees bullpen. Probably not, but I truthfully hope the best for him.

As far as the return for the Pirates, saying I am impressed may be an understatement. Sure, Park could revert back to the pre-May, 18th, 2021 version of himself, which is not necessary a terrible thing, and Castillo may not live up to his Fangraphs ranking or his 40+ Future Value.

However, on paper, this is a clear win for General Manager Ben Cherington and the entire Pirates Front Office.

Five Pirates Thoughts at Five

7-26-21 – By Gary Morgan

Emotional reactions are the enemy of fairness.

Doing this work I’ve learned that when I’m feeling emotional about a move or a game I have to work extra hard to make sure I’m truly coming from a fair place. To me, our readers deserve me taking the time to make sure I’m not stoking fires or ringing alarm bells where the clarity of thought provided by time might help subside.

1. Have to Start with Adam Frazier

I told you how I felt about this move last night, but a few things I want to reinforce here. Extending Adam Frazier would have been difficult and honestly not the best thing for the Pirates or Adam. Adam will be 30 and the Pirates would surely only want to extend him 2 or 3 seasons. At the same time, this is going to be Adam’s one big chance to get paid and more importantly get length. It’s not unlike Starling Marte’s situation with Miami right now. They’ve offered him 2 more years for like 15 million a year but he too knows this is his chance to cash in.

We have to remember everything Adam has done in his career was to build up to the point he could get himself a really nice payday and just because it’s an inconvenient time doesn’t change that fact.

You can say, oh who cares then, sign him long term he’s awesome! I’d encourage you to take an honest look at his career and really separate yourself from just being a fan. This version of Adam was incredible, but the Pirates (not just Nutting) the actual franchise, can’t afford to have a 35 year old Adam Frazier sitting on their bench.

That’s a big part of the unfair system in MLB that rarely get’s talked about. Small to Mid-market clubs can’t afford to carry a bunch of dead contract. The Yankees can decide Chapman is not what he used to be and just use him in the middle of the bullpen or cut him all together, it won’t cripple the team (their own ineptitude does that just fine). Hell the Dodgers might still be paying Matt Kemp, lol.

Bottom line, he had to be moved, that’s not my contention, I just felt if this was the package, I’d rather wait. Happy to be proven wrong of course.

I’d also say, we all spent a bunch of time praising their ability to evaluate when they grabbed all those draft picks, maybe we should again trust if getting Marcano was so important to Cherington, perhaps he and his team see more than we do. I mean after the reevaluation by Pipeline it would certainly appear that way, but I still have to find how they calculated this increase.

2. They Aren’t Done

I still don’t see more than 2 or 3 deals but I absolutely see 2 or 3 deals. Tyler Anderson is a lock and we’ll know how close they are by whether he pitches on Tuesday or not. If they’re close, zero chance they risk injury, if they think they’re not close he’ll get one more showcase.

Anderson if you pay attention is the only pitcher in their “rotation” and I use the term loosely who get’s to stay in ballgames later and perish the thought touch 100 pitches. Well, there’s a reason, they know damn well he won’t be their concern moving forward.

Chris Stratton is my other pick to click here. He just eats innings and the way the league has looked in 2021 that is an incredibly valuable commodity. Richard Rodriguez is available but I’m less bullish on this one now. Oh I still think he’ll move, but I really can’t say it’s a lock that other teams are as impressed as we thought they’d be say in May or June.

3. Lonnie White Jr. Makes 4

News broke yesterday that Lonnie White Jr. the PSU football recruit would sign a contract with the Pirates rather than fulfill his commitment to Penn State. This means that the Pirates managed to choose and secure 4 of the top 32 prospects in the draft and really speaks highly to the entire team’s ability to negotiate, evaluate and eventually be rewarded for their boldness.

These are prospects, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what this means to the Pirates in what year, but I will say this is about as good as you could have possibly hoped the draft would go. In fact, if you told me this would be the outcome before the draft I’d have told you there was no way they could pull that off.

Have to imagine this signing all but eliminates signing Bishop but I believe he was an insurance policy for White to begin with, so not the end of the world.

There are still some loose ends but this largely puts a bow on the Pirates Draft in 2021. Nothing to hate here, they instantly improve the system and many of these guys won’t even be considered part of what opens the window in the first place. That’s the waves of talent that prevent the window from slamming shut, and exactly what you hope for.

4. None of These Moves Change the Timeline

The Pirates aren’t going to get someone’s MLB top 100 prospect in return for anyone. The Adam Frazier deal confirms that. Short of that, there won’t be any timeline altering events here. Bluntly, even if there were this is largely set in stone. The top prospects are on the path they’re on and unless they targeted a bunch of AAA guys, not unlike Marcano we’re still going to be in a holding pattern to a degree.

I can tell you Adam Frazier never factored into any projection I’ve put forward for the window opening, so it stands to reason his move had little chance of changing my outlook. Oh sure I held out hope that someone in the return would accelerate things and maybe that’s what Ben and crew believe they did acquiring a guy close to ready for the show, but I’ll have to see it and even then, one guy added to a group that’s two away isn’t earth shattering.

The core pieces of this club are Reynolds and potentially Hayes. Those are the two to build around. You can add Stallings if you like, but they don’t need to do anything to have him still here in 2025 and if Henry Davis isn’t at least close to here by then they made a poor pick.

I don’t think this deal was great, but I also don’t think it’ll have any lasting impact on questions like when will this team be good.

5. The Rule 5 Conundrum

The Pirates just yesterday added 3 new players in need of protection from the Rule 5 draft, a big story on the horizon already sure to be wrought with difficult choices. We obviously don’t have a full picture yet, but already the writing is on the wall for players like Cole Tucker. In fact, it’s very possible the Bucs only protect one or two of the players they picked up yesterday, it’s simply impossible to cover them all, that’s a reflection of a deep system and skipping 2020 in MiLB really created this situation for a ton of franchises.

Even the guys the Pirates picked up yesterday, I wrote about how few at bats or innings they have at higher levels, but that’s not really a reflection on how slowly they’re moving as much as everybody lost a year.

Truth is, the Pirates are going to wind up leaving some good players exposed, it just can’t be helped. That said, should they so choose opportunities will be there for them to again score someone they like from another team in the same position.

What you want to avoid is having to protect guys still 2 or 3 years away from the bigs, because the more of those you have the harder it is to have easy call ups to the MLB club with real help.

Yes, yes, the Pirates have plenty of people they can cut and those decisions will come, but this starts to present diminishing returns at some point.

What you want are close to 20 pitchers while the other 20 or so play positions. Ideally 35 or so would be viable for promotion to MLB at least in the near future, otherwise you get the DFA game we’ve seen play out and at some point the Pirates are going to start caring about losing players.

See, Crick was an easy decision for them, but they weren’t trying to lose Geoff Hartlieb.

After the deadline and we have a clearer picture of all the pieces in the box, we’ll start putting this puzzle together, but trust me, the team is already very much so thinking about this and don’t be shocked if you see some current 40-man members that don’t figure into the future moved out themselves.

Two Guys Talking Trades – Frazier Deal and Mental Gymnastics

7-26-21 – By Justin Verno

Sunday afternoon, while I attended the Graduation Party for my niece, Congratulations Olivia big things are ahead for you, the Pirates made their first trade of the deadline moving Adam Frazier to the Padres. I’ll get to the return soon enough, but first I want to talk about mental gymnastics. 

Mental Gymnastics- Inventive, complex arguments used to justify unjustifiable decisions or situations.

Remember this term because I’m about to use some.  Joe and I made a choice to use only Fangraphs values while building these trade values and packages and there are reasons for this. Fangraphs has a live board (comparatively) It consistently seems ahead of the competition in it’s process. It better defines how it got to the evaluation of the  prospects.  It’s just more thorough. But in order for me to justify the return Cherington got for Adam Frazier I have to exercise mental gymnastics.

Bear with me here. If we step out of our comfort zone and quickly look at MLBPipeline, this is a good trade as the main piece has a 50 grade. The same prospect on Fangraphs has a 40+ grade, and I just agree with this grade more for a few reasons. I will lay out soon enough, but there are reasons to like Tucupita Marcano, and if we use mental gymnastics we can get there. He has excellent discipline at the plate, waking more than he strikes out. He has a frame that suggests power could develop. He plays multiple positions to the point some Bucco fans have compared him to Adam Frazier. The thing is the power hasn’t developed. Despite that plate discipline his slash line isn’t particularly scintillating coming in at 278/356/361. His best season he had a 366/450/438 slash line between Rk and A- ball. The pirates will need more of that to justify this move. 

But there is good news there, he’s young. He is 21 and has 50 PA in the majors. Adam Frazier slashed 295/358/365 in the minors but it’s extremely important to note he was 21-24 years old to Morcano’s 17-21.

Now On to the Values

Tucupita Marcano–Utility–ETA-ASAP– 40+ FV ($4M)

Incredible discipline at the plate. Has the frame to develop a little power and we may be  seeing some of that now as he has 6 HR in 199 trips to the plate. 

Jack Suwinski–OF/DH–ETA:2023–35+ FV ($1M)

I will keep this short and sweet. Possible that Jack found that big adjustment as the power has been special so far in AA. 15 HR, 8 2B and 4 trip, trip triples. Cross your fingers on this one!

Michell Miliano-MiRP–ETA: 2023–35+ ($0M)

2 pitch mix with  a promising fastball and curveball with a 55 FV and 60 FV, respectively.

A front office deserves a pat on the back when they hit a homerun, no doubt. They also deserve to be called out when they come up short. Getting a 5 million $ return on 16 million of surplus is in the later category. The clear upside and helium prospects we’ve seen in all of this front office’s previous moves just aren’t present here. That’s not to say these guys won’t pan out, there’s a reason I sit where I sit and Cherington sits where he sits. But on the surface and using surplus values this package seems well shy of what we thought Cherington should get, and please keep in mind we never thought a 50 FV prospect was in the cards for Adam Frazier’s return. We didn’t “shoot for the moon” here. The only word I can use is disappointed. 

Parting Shots

A few extra points here. Gary pointed out that Cherington had asked for Marcano in the Musgrove trade so it’s evident that BC and his staff really like this kid. Also evident in pulling the trigger 5 days before the 4 PM deadline on Friday.  1.4 million. That was the price tag on the remainder of Frazier’s contract this year. Important to note the Bucs are picking that up, and they did so in order to get a better return, so they must really love Marcano. It’s worth noting because the Bucs were willing to “buy” a prospect, hopefully we see more of that.

The Trade Piece That Isn’t Getting Enough Attention

July 30th (so used to saying the 31st) is right around the corner, and that means that trade talks are going to ramp up drastically. We’ve already seen Adam Frazier shipped off to the Padres, and Tyler Anderson and Richard Rodriguez are likely on the way out. Maybe sprinkle in Chad Kuhl if you’d like. But, there is one specific arm that didn’t even start the season on the major league club, and he has been sneakily good for the Bucs’ bullpen this season. Good enough to be traded at the deadline? I’ll be diving into that and other possibilities in today’s player profile.

Chasen Shreve was drafted by the Atlanta Braves back in 2010 at the age of 20, earning his first callup four years later in 2014. He had a very impressive debut with Atlanta, allowing just one earned run in 12 ⅓ innings, while also striking out 15 batters. After the season, Shreve would change teams just after starting his career. 

Shreve was shipped off to the Bronx to join the Yankees on New Year’s Day in 2015, along with fellow pitcher David Carpenter for Manny Bañuelos, a left-handed pitcher who was a top 15 prospect at the time. Carpenter would only pitch about 18 ⅔ innings before being designated for assignment mid-season. Bañuelos, on the other hand, would also flame out, turning into a career minor leaguer and recently spending time in the Mexican League. Shreve would fare pretty well for New York. In about three-and-a-half seasons in the Bronx, Shreve compiled a 3.92 ERA across 180 games (174 ⅔ innings). He also had 201 strikeouts in his time with the Yankees.

On July 29th, 2018, Chasen Shreve would find himself on the move yet again, this time to St. Louis, along with Giovanny Gallegos for a struggling hitter by the name of Luke Voit. Of course Voit would go on to hit 60 home runs (and counting) for the Yankees. Perhaps Gallegos needed a change of scenery too, turning a 4.75 ERA in his first 30 innings with New York into a really good 2.55 ERA in 141 innings with St. Louis. Shreve would unsurprisingly pitch very solidly with the Cards down the stretch in 2018, pitching to a 3.07 ERA in 14 ⅔ innings. The surprising part is that Shreve was designated for assignment before the 2019 season and only pitched in three major league games (two innings), giving up a pair of runs. 

Shreve elected free agency after 2019 and signed a contract as a non-roster invitee with the other New York team in the Mets. Shreve made the 2020 Opening Day roster and appeared in 17 games (25 innings), putting up a 3.96 ERA. He also had his career best mark of a .191 opponent batting average. Despite his pretty good season, the Mets decided not to re-sign Shreve and he once again elected the right to become a free agent. 

On February 7th, 2021, Chasen Shreve signed with the Pirates, once again finding himself a non-roster invitee. The belief when the signing was announced was that Shreve was most likely going to find himself a spot on the big-league roster, barring injury or poor performance. Shreve allowed four earned runs over 9 ⅓ innings in Spring Training, seemingly locking down a spot. Unfortunately for him, the acquisition of Duane Underwood Jr. and signing of Trevor Cahill, along with a breakout performance from David Bednar did not leave any room for Shreve on the 26-man roster. To further complicate things for Shreve, he was not already on the 40-man roster, and Pittsburgh was not willing to part with any of those players-yet

It took Shreve about a month to get a call-up, pitching two scoreless innings in Triple-A Indianapolis before an injury to Kyle Crick forced the Pirates’ hand. There were no real expectations for Shreve besides the fact that he’s left-handed and he could possibly eat up innings. Instead, we are watching a guy who’s having his best statistical season of his 8-year career, with a 2.25 ERA in 27 games (24 innings).

What’s weird is that there’s no real reason why Shreve is performing so well. His K/9 is the lowest of his career at 6.4 and all of his other statistics are pretty consistent with previous seasons, yet his WAR (0.6) is at its highest since 2017. Maybe his pitches have ramped up in velocity or spin? No, his velocity is about the same as last year and Shreve’s primary breaking pitch, his split-finger has the worst spin rate (on that particular pitch) of his career. His FIP is also much higher than his ERA (4.88 vs. 2.25), which may be concerning if that wasn’t the case for that last eight years. His career FIP is one whole run higher than his career ERA (4.73 vs. 3.60). 

So where does that leave Shreve? If the Pirates do decide to move on from Shreve, there would be some holes left in the Pittsburgh bullpen. The top lefty option to replace Shreve on the big-league squad would be the newly acquired Dillon Peters from the Los Angeles Angels. Peters has struggled in Triple-A this year, putting up a 4.35 ERA in 41 ⅓ innings. Perhaps the Pirates acquired Peters with the anticipation of a Shreve move at the deadline, and they wanted to have another lefty option. Or, they felt they were short on depth at that spot. The only other southpaw on the 40-man not currently active is Sam Howard, but he is battling his second injury of the season and it seems he will miss additional time.

The factor new to this year is the fact that international bonus pool money can not be exchanged this year (i.e. last year’s Jarrod Dyson trade). So, a team would have to be interested enough to trade from their own system to get a guy like Shreve. Salary may be something that goes in Shreve’s favor, as a potential trade partner would only have to take on a portion of his 1.5 million dollar contract. Also, he’s a lefty, and those are always valued in contenders’ bullpens. Technically trading cash is always an option, but the Pirates would (hopefully) not do something like that. 

There’s also the option of not trading Shreve, and keeping a solid bullpen lefty for the rest of the season. He could also be re-signed, he’s only 30 years old. 

I found it interesting that Shreve couldn’t find a spot on a major league team, considering he consistently pitches well and consistently pitches. He’s only been injured once in his career, back in 2016. His veteran leadership could be appealing, but he’s never pitched in a playoff game, which came as a surprise to me. With Tyler Anderson trade rumors swirling, it seems like there is interest in a left handed arm, which may help the cause. Other teams’ loss may become the Pirates’ gain, as a sign and trade could become a very solid outcome for a minor league signing. 

What will the Pirates end up doing with Shreve? We won’t have to wait long, but it feels like Ben Cherington is doing a very fine job as the Pirates’ general manager, and evaluating possible returns seems like a strong suit of his. Stay tuned on the other Pirates’ trade chips, but keep your eyes peeled for Chasen Shreve, perhaps the most underrated piece available for the Bucs, and could be a productive reliever for a contender down the stretch. 

Two Guys Talkin’ Trades – Resetting the Scene

7-26-21 – By Justin Verno & Joe Boyd

Justin Verno – Well, here it is Joe: the trade deadline is in four short days. In 96 hours I’ll be hitting “refresh,” “refresh,” and one more time “refresh.”  Nothing like the MLB deadline! The Frazier deal just popped up out of nowhere and we’ll have to get to that evaluation later.

Joe Boyd – I’m with you, Justin!  Let’s hope that Pittsburgh makes some deals that we can evaluate to determine just how good this farm will be in the near future.  It is already brimming with prospects that can excite the fanbase, so let’s see if that cup runneth over this week.  A ‘broadcasting’ note: Justin and/or I will be providing some daily updates this week if some deals hit the wire prior to the deadline, and then we will look at July in its totality on our final Talkin’ Trades next week.  Obviously we’ll start with the Adam Frazier deal later today.

I wanted to quickly touch upon a trade that the Pirates actually made on Monday, July 19th.  The Pirates traded for Dillon Peters in exchange for cash considerations.  I don’t really have much for you on Peters, and at this point, maybe you have heard a scouting report?  But from a prospect perspective, he ranked as the Marlins #17 prospect in 2018 with stuff that graded out as average.  He’s a LHP with some decent spin rates and fits in with Capt Redbeard and Ben Gamel, but he’s not the story for me.  To make room on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated Kyle Crick for assignment.  If you’ll remember, Crick was the first player we analyzed that had a negative surplus value.  Crick had future closer written all over him after the 2018 season, but his performance has taken quite a dip.  The Pirates brass saw what was there, and deemed him expendable.

Anyway, this penultimate “official” edition will look at the rumors that have sprung up since our last release where applicable, but let’s do a quick primer of the potential buyers, their needs, and if Pittsburgh could be a good fit as a trading partner.  To be as systematic as possible and also leverage Fangraphs as much as possible, we utilized their “playoff odds” to determine potential buyers.  If a team has >= 25% chance of making the postseason, they made our list of potential buyers. Let’s start with the AL clubs:

Boston Red Sox (89.6% Chance of making the playoffs) – Team Needs:  SP, OF, 1B, UTIL

Boston currently holds a 1.5 game lead over Tampa and have seen quite a bounce back season in 2021.  Based on Baseball Reference’s Team WAR (utilized throughout), the Red Sox have a strong, balanced team but could certainly  utilize a boost in starting pitching and absolutely at first base.  They also could benefit from a utility-type player that could buoy their outfield or provide insurance if Jarren Duran struggles out the gate.

Although there are no concrete rumors with Pittsburgh’s available trade chips, the connection with Cherington should not be ignored.  Obvious options to boost the club would be Tyler Anderson.  A dark horse could potentially be Colin Moran.  This could help Boston’s abysmal production from 1B and alleviate the new bottleneck in Pittsburgh with the arrival of the Big Nogowski.

Potential Pirate Fits: Anderson, Stratton, Rodriguez, Moran

Tampa Rays (66.5%) — Team Needs:  SP, RP, DH

The biggest weakness for the Rays is starting pitching, so my first inclination was to say that Tyler Anderson is a strong fit here, but upon further inspection they have four starting southpaws.  Perhaps there would be some diminishing returns if they were to add Anderson.  Instead, I would consider someone like Chris Stratton to be a piece that interests Tampa.  As a team that embraced the Opener, Stratton could easily fill that role, he can also be a fireman of sorts, and if necessary he can close.  His spin rates are a magnet for analytically inclined teams and he just feels like a nice, valuable piece that can be had on a budget. 

The Rays have a young squad with green prospects filling major roles on the team.  So perhaps some depth and someone that could fill in as a DH would be beneficial here.  I would say that the Pirates have very little that would spark interest here.  I could say Gregory Polanco, but I won’t!

Potential Pirate Fits: Anderson, Stratton, Rodriguez

Toronto Blue Jays (41.8%) — Team Needs: RP, C, OF*

Toronto sits 3.5 GB of the wild card and 7.0 GB in the division as we stand today.  That does not really sound like a buyer to me.  However, they recently got George Springer back, they have an extremely potent offense that includes the ASG MVP and an MVP front runner in Vlad Jr., and they have already done some buying, so they are a buyer.  I put Outfield as a need, but the addition of Springer all but eradicates that deficit.  

I could be controversial here and suggest that Stallings might fit here, but the Blue Jays are one of few teams that have depth at the catcher position in multiple prospects.  Rather than trade a king’s ransom for a 31-year old backstop, they could just call up Gabby Moreno.  But one piece that does make sense, Richard Rodriguez, has already been linked to the club.  We’ve built potential trade packages for this one, but you’re an avid reader so you already know that!

Potential Pirate Fits: Stratton, Rodriguez

Wait a second, didn’t I say we kept this to teams with >= 25% chance to make the playoffs?  Yup, but why create an arbitrary cutoff rule if you’re not going to break it!?  Cleveland only sits 4.5 games out of a wild card spot, so potentially they could make a move and hope things break just their way.  

Well, maybe with all of those needs, this is more of a pipedream and they are more likely to be sellers.  Nonetheless, we have seen crazier things!  Certainly, they could add a small piece that would not cost much in terms of prospect capital such as Tyler Anderson, but that does not shift the landscape nearly enough.  If Cleveland  makes a move, I anticipate a splash.  So you’re looking at upgrades like Jacob Stallings or maybe even Bryan Reynolds!  In all likelihood, I’m just peddling some articles we did on players that are unlikely to move.  But Cleveland would need to make a big play to generate any change in the AL hierarchy this year and adding a controllable asset (or even star) would alter the landscape for multiple years.  File this one under very unlikely. 

Potential Pirate Fits: Anderson, Stallings, Reynolds

Houston Astros (95.6%) – Team Needs: RP, C

Houston looks to be sitting rather pretty and positioned really well for a postseason run.  Despite everyone rooting against them, Houston has once again put together a strong, well-balanced club.  The only weakness would be their bullpen.

We have mentioned a few opportunities for Houston to align with Pittsburgh on a bullpen trade. Richard Rodriguez would certainly be another enticing arm for Dusty Baker’s crew. 

An interesting report came out this week from the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that Houston has checked in on Bryan Reynolds.  We have talked about how unlikely a deal for Reynolds would be and how so few teams even have the prospect capital to swing a deal.  Houston certainly does not and so I will say that this was just a call to see if they could get a sale price.  Spoiler: They cannot.

Potential Pirate Fits: Stratton, Holmes, Kuhl, Rodriguez, Reynolds

Oakland Athletics (50.2%) — Team Needs: RP, 2B, SS, RF

Oakland currently holds a 3.0 game advantage over Seattle for the final wild card spot.  Led by a strong rotation, Oakland could certainly look to bolster their bullpen and probably could use a player that could handle middle infield and outfield in a sort of utility role. 

Potential Pirate Fits: Stratton, Rodriguez

Seattle Mariners (4.1%) — Team Needs: Everything

Look, I broke my rule again.  Seattle is absolutely punching above their weight this season.  They are in the Wild Card hunt and have been bandied about (unofficially) as a  potential suitor for Frazier and even Bryan Reynolds.  I will not link to those just because they are not exactly credible or even well thought out trade packages.  Theoretically, Seattle could push to make a late surge but if you look at Baseball Reference (highlight SEA at the top) you’ll notice that they have a lot of holes.  I don’t want to rule them out as a potential trade partner and look foolish on Friday, so keep this in the back of your mind.  But the likelihood that Seattle makes a significant move as a buyer should be considered low. 

Potential Pirate Fits: Anderson, Stratton, Rodriguez, Holmes, Reynolds

And now, the NL list of potential buyers:

New York Mets (67.2%) — Team Needs: SP, RP, 3B

The Mets are the leaders of the NL East, but looking at their positional WAR, they have plenty of areas to improve upon.  The most dire, based on my glance, however appears to be 3B and bullpen arms.  Last week, Justin mentioned a connection between NY and Tyler Anderson.  To add some fuel to that fire, MLBTR had a report that the Mets will be seeking starting pitching.

Potential Pirate Fits:  Anderson, Rodriguez, Stratton

Philadelphia Phillies (22.9%) — Team Needs: RP, SS, 3B, LF

I’ll be honest, I have paid very little attention to Philadelphia’s plan at the deadline.  At 3.0 GB in the East, they certainly could make a push and be buyers.  They have had zero connection with the Pirates but the bullpen arms look to be the best fit for a trade to happen here.

Potential Pirate Fits:  Anderson, Rodriguez, Stratton

Atlanta Braves (11.7%) — Team Needs: RP, C, SS, OF

Atlanta has had a disappointing season and recently they have been devastated by the season ending injury to Ronald Acuña.  The club has already done some buying by acquiring Joc Pederson and Stephen Vogt, so we can call them buyers.

Jim Bowden linked them to RichRod and since we have had so few rumors, I’m going to count this as one!

Potential Pirate Fits: Rodriguez

Washington Nationals (4.5%) — Team Needs: SP, RP, 2B, 3B, CF

I put Washington on here for the same reason I put Atlanta.  Bowden mentioned that Anderson could fit here.  I’ve also seen a report that the Nationals are still determining whether to be  buyers or sellers.  If you can’t decide?  You should be sellers. 

I add Reynolds as a potential fit for a trade in jest.  Bowden had a piece earlier this month about a deal where the Pirates would move Reynolds to DC for Victor Robles and 2 non-prospects.  I don’t think it will happen, but Bowden gets paid to do this stuff.. We only make trades systematically/objectively.  

Potential Pirate Fits: Anderson, Rodriguez, Reynolds

Milwaukee Brewers (90.6%) — Team Needs: 1B, 2B, OF

The Brewers have a comfortable lead in the Central and they also have some star power.  They have a few areas that they could address, and I would assume adding to the bullpen wouldn’t hurt as well.

The biggest match, to me, is Moran.  You could obviously say RichRod, but personally I would like to keep those guys out of the division.  It’s sentimental.

Potential Pirate Fits: Stratton, Rodriguez, Moran

San Diego Padres (92.0%) — Team Needs:  SP, RP,  C, 1B, RF

The Fryers have built a solid team that is in a tough division.   It’s likely that they are assured a wild card spot.  That’s a tough spot to be in when you have one of the best teams in baseball.  The opportunities at the deadline that I would target knowing that I am likely headed to a one game playoff are long arms (hello, Chris Stratton), shut down relievers (hey, Rich Rod), and guys that can produce/get on base and/or provide some juice.  I would absolutely see San Diego targeting a Joey Gallo to fill that last role, but Pittsburgh can certainly be a player here and they obviously already have a working relationship.

(*Editor’s note) This could still be in play, but it would seem they’d have just packaged someone in with Frazier if they were interested.

Potential Pirate Fits: Stratton, Rodriguez

San Francisco Giants (91.7%) — Team Needs: RP, 2B, LF

San Francisco should be rounding the turn in their rebuild, but instead they look like they have just retooled.  The team’s performance is buoyed by some old heads that are playing out of their minds.  The Giants rotation is filled with rentals, perhaps an interesting model to copy? With Gausman and Wood leading the way, the Giants see themselves at the top of the NL West and in a precarious position.  They could stick it out and continue to develop for the future, or they could go for it this year.  Or.. OR.. they could look to target highly valuable pieces to displace some of that production on the IL (Crawford, Belt, Longoria) that actually have control beyond this year. 

They could inquire about a rental like Anderson to keep prospect costs down or they could invest in another longer term asset like Rodriguez to add depth and high leverage talent to the bullpen.

Potential Pirate Fits: Anderson, Rodriguez

JV-The first thing that jumps out to me is the pitcher market. Every team on this list could use a starter or a reliever, and in some cases both. Cherington has a lot of interesting arms here and it should be fun seeing how many he’s willing to let go. How far Cherigington goes here could determine a lot of things for the rebuild like how deep the system gets, how long the rebuild will take, and last but not least, where the Bucs will be drafting in 2022.

Parting Shots

Let’s have some fun here. Hit us up in the comments or on Twitter (linked in the byline), give us your total players and over/under on how many players Cherington moves by the deadline and where Frazier ends up. Winner gets bragging rights for a year! 

Keep your eyes open for those updates and see ya in a week!

Pirates Trade All Star Second Baseman Adam Frazier to San Diego

7-25-21 – By Gary Morgan

This has been building for quite some time. Not this deal in particular, but the fact a deal would likely get done itself sending Adam Frazier out of Pittsburgh.

Today the Pirates finalized a deal with San Diego for two prospects and a borderline major league player.

Tucapita Marcano is the MLB-ish player, he’s a second baseman and outfielder who has just touched the big leagues this season. He is the Padres 5th ranked prospect on their site but Fangraphs lists him as number 10. His numbers have been largely middling in his minor league career. The left handed hitter only has 150 at bats above Single A so to think he jumps right to the Big club might be questionable.

He’s seen to have a good eye and all of his scouting reports sound like you’re describing Adam Frazier to be honest, thing is, even if he turns out to be close to that, it would be like picking up Adam Frazier about five years ago. If you’re into this stuff Fangraphs also lists him as a 40+ FV prospect.

Next up is outfielder Jack Suwinski is a left handed AA outfielder with an emerging power tool. Nothing really stands out in his tool set to me. He could wind up being a decent ball player and lord knows the team needs outfield depth but in a pretty deep system he’s not in their top 50. There’s just not much to say here, again he has all of 260+ at bats above Single A. On the surface though, this isn’t a Smith-Njigba type that is going to look like a steal. As I dig in on the advanced stats, yeah, don’t like what I see. Suwinski also doesn’t have an FV listing on Fangraphs, typically meaning it’s south of 25+, aka, not really on the radar. If you really want a positive it might be his BABIP

The Pirates also got a Single A back end of the bullpen right hander named Michell Miliano, Fangraphs has him at 35+ FV and as a reliever he could probably move if he does reasonably well through the system. Ranked as the Padres number 45 prospect, it’s hard to see him as much more than a lottery ticket. His curve ball and fast ball are ranked above average but control is lacking a bit which sounds like a ton of guys who throw a fastball and curve.

The Pirates also sent 1.4 million dollars to help the Padres avoid going over the Luxury tax threshold and to get a better prospect return, which blows my mind because this isn’t a terrific return.

Goodbye, Good Luck, and Thanks for What You Did Here Adam.

Adam was drafted in the 6th round back in 2013 and since 2016 has been a consistent presence for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The two time Gold Glove finalist at second base was having a career season, nearly 50 points higher than his best previous result and with one more year of arbitration he was likely to be moved this year.

Making his first All Start appearance this season Adam will join a Padres team that will use his versatility to make their lineup stronger as they make a push for the playoffs.

For the Pirates, the decision really needed to be made this season. Either extend him or move him, but as I’ve described to you before, Adam was not likely to take just a couple years, and at his age the Pirates were unlikely to give him enough length.

He will be missed, and the Pirates don’t really have a great solution for playing second base. They could perhaps use Phillip Evans, Rodolfo Castro, maybe it’s finally time to take the water wings off Cole Tucker. Dee Strange-Gordon could be the automatic call up as well.

Let’s be honest though, nobody is going to do what Frazier has this year, and nobody is going to fill his shoes in the field either.

He will be missed.

We’re going to hear people say he will never hit like this again in a season, or he never did, but all that matters in the moment is he currently is having a sensational season and I hope he has all the success he deserves.

My Take

In short, I’m underwhelmed.

Tossing in cash was probably to pry away Marcano. He’s a good prospect, but not one I would have coveted as much as it seems Ben Cherington has. This had all the markings of unfinished business from the Joe Musgrove deal.

Just conjecture on my part but it smells a lot like they really wanted this guy in that deal and this time there wasn’t going to be a deal without him. Ken Rosenthal reported that during the Musgrove negotiations the Padres were unwilling to discuss Marcano, so this would seem to back up my assertion.

The other two, meh. The young reliever Michell Miliano probably has the best shot of the two to contribute but my biggest concern is every one that was returned in this deal will require Rule 5 protection, something I already thought the team would struggle with as we move forward into the off season.

As an analyst, this doesn’t do anything for me. At this point in the rebuild, I’d rather return one 45+ FV type or one nailed on MLB top 100 player than three like this. It’s time to start prioritizing quality over quantity.

As a fan, underwhelmed is a nice way to say it. I’d prefer taking him to the end of the season than pull the trigger on this deal. Again, my belief that I’d rather have one good prospect than the return they procured makes me feel I could have waited on this.

It has been known that Adam was going to be moved for quite some time, but if this was the return for him, I shudder to think of the return for Tyler Anderson. Sometimes you gotta take the sage advice of Mr. Kenny Rogers and know when to hold ’em.

Bottom line, this trade goes down in history as Marcano does. If he makes it and turns into the piece Ben and company seem to think he will, its a win. If for no other reason than they’ve exchanged 1 year of control for 5 years. If he doesn’t, or winds up being an Erik Gonzalez type, its not a good deal.

Time always tells, but on the surface again, this isn’t this front office’s best work. Closer to the Bell deal than Taillon or Joe.