The MLB trade deadline is this coming Tuesday, August 2nd. The Pittsburgh Pirates have already made one move, sending Daniel Vogelbach to the Mets for Colin Holderman.
The Pirates don’t have a lot of trade pieces this year, which is to be expected from a young, rebuilding team that is currently one of the worst in the majors. They have a few guys who will almost certainly be on the move, and two standouts who could provide a big boost to their farm system if either is dealt.
Here are my thoughts on five players who will probably be discussed in trade talks over the next five days.
I don’t think Reynolds has his highest value right now. He has a .789 OPS this year, down from his MVP-contending numbers last year. He’s dealt with injuries, and is returning from an oblique injury. The Pirates have him under team control for three more seasons, and his contract is locked down next year. They might be better off letting him build value the rest of the year and trying to deal him in the offseason. This is said to be a seller’s deadline, with so many teams in the race due to the extra playoff spots.
As of this writing, the Pirates are one of only eight teams in the majors who are double-digit games back from both their division and the Wild Card races. Reynolds would draw attention for what he’s done in the past, but it’s questionable whether his value would be down due to his season, or up due to the market.
The most surprising move I could see the Pirates making would be a trade of David Bednar. The All-Star reliever has four more years of control remaining, so there’s no rush to deal him. If the Pirates get aggressive this offseason, and try to start contending in 2023, Bednar will be a key part of that contending team. He would also land a huge return right now in a seller’s market where he has proven success and years of control. Such a return might do more for the Pirates’s chances of contending long-term than Bednar could do for them in the short-term.
Quintana makes the start tonight for the Pirates, though last year they traded left-hander Tyler Anderson ahead of what would be his final start. If Quintana does start today, and has another strong outing, it would give the Pirates leverage heading into the deadline. I don’t think Quintana will land much more than what Anderson got last year — an upper level potential 40-grade player and a rookie-level flier. There’s a chance the return could be higher, due to the seller’s market. I think Quintana will be traded, and will bring back the biggest return for the Pirates outside of a Bednar or Reynolds deal.
The Pirates already traded Daniel Vogelbach, getting back Colin Holderman, a right-handed reliever who has had some success in the big leagues this year. Holderman was sent to the minors immediately, though I’d expect him to return after the deadline. I would expect a bullpen spot to open, and Chris Stratton seems the most likely to be on the move. Stratton has one more year of team control, and has been a reliable reliever who can eat innings. I could see Holderman working to replace him after Stratton has moved, and I think Stratton gets moved.
Gamel is a free agent at the end of the year, and probably wouldn’t land much of a return. There might be an argument that he has more value remaining on the team as a veteran presence for all of the young outfielders the Pirates have. Of course, if the Pirates kept Bryan Reynolds, they wouldn’t need this as much. The Pirates could try the same thing they did with Vogelbach, going for a cheaper reliever with years of control for a position player who can help a contender. Any lower level prospect they added would just get lost in a growing sea of depth.