By: Noah Wright
The Pirates have been left with an open hole in an otherwise solid rotation. After trading away Ivan Nova to the Chicago White Sox, the Pirates currently have 4 decent starters: Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Chris Archer, and Joe Musgrove. However, the team’s front office has stated that they want to compete for a spot in the playoffs. Now they could go for a deeper bullpen and use an opener for that 5th spot, but there’s currently many buy low pitchers that could be on the trade market. So with that, let’s go over 3 potential trade targets for the Pirates.
- Steven Wright:
Steven Wright is also in a spot like Wood. The Red Sox have an abundance of starters. That includes ace Chris Sale, bounceback lefty David Price, and Postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi. The fourth spot is likely going to be handed to 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. That leaves the 5th spot up to multiple options. Along with Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez, Hector Velasquez, and Brian Johnson. With so many options, the Red Sox kind of don’t need Wright, unless they have future plans for them. Last season in 53 and two thirds innings, the knuckler threw his crazy moving pitch for a 2.68 ERA, 4.37 FIP, and 1.248 WHIP. However that was in injury limited endings. When he is healthy (like he was in 2016), he can be an effective #3 starter. With two years of arbitration control left and MLB Trade Rumors projecting he’ll receive $1.4 million this season, he could be a very good buy low option. However one thing that the team has to consider is how the catchers will do with a knuckleball pitcher. Francisco Cervelli has never caught a knuckleball pitcher in his career, and Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings are both young catchers who haven’t even seen much MLB time. Given that this team did lead the league with nearly 100 wild pitches, the Bucs might think twice about Wright. Still, a fully healthy Wright could be an asset to the Pirates.
- Julio Teheran:
The Braves righty has been in talks recently as to whether or not he’ll be traded. However if he is, he may be a decent target for the Pirates. Tehran’s stats are kind of all over the place. Sure, his 3.94 ERA isn’t that bad, but his FIP was a 4.83. But that likely is from the his career high 4.4 BB/9. However, there’s still some upside here. Tehran reached a career high 8.3 K/9 rate. Plus, while Suntrust isn’t necessarily a much better pitchers park than PNC, PNC just edges out Suntrust in average runs, hits and triples. Another place the Pirates can find value in Tehran is his NL Central Stats. Against NLC teams throughout his career, (not including the Pirates), he has a combined 3.38 ERA. Next season will be the last guaranteed of Tehran’s contract. For $11 million, he’s not a bad pitcher, and he has an $12 million team option for 2020.
- Dylan Bundy:
Now I’m not going to sugar coat it, Dylan Bundy had a horrible season last year. His ERA was 5.45, and his FIP was 4.17. However, he’s currently on a rebuilding Orioles team, and he could be one of the team’s next pieces to get rid of. Plus, let’s look at that AL East he’s competing in. You have the NY Yankees with Judge, Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, and bounceback candidate Gary Sanchez. Then you have the 2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox with JDM, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Xander Bogaerts. The Tampa Bay Rays will definitely be in the playoff hunt with Tommy Pham, Matt Duffy and all their young hitters. While the Toronto Blue Jays don’t have as many heavy hitters as the Sox or Yanks, they still have some decent bats in Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk, Kendrys Morales, with Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio on the horizon. Though it’s not like The NLC is void of great players, a move out of the ALE could be beneficial to Bundy. A similar comparison would be Bundy’s former teammate Kevin Gausman. Gausman was posting a 4.43 ERA, and 4.58 FIP with the Orioles before being sent to the Atlanta Braves at last season’s deadline. After arriving in Atlanta, Gausman went on to be one of the team’s better pitchers down the stretch, having a 2.87 ERA, and 3.78 FIP. Bundy has shown some success in the NL, having a 3.74 ERA in inter league games, granted with a 4.09 FIP in just 55 and a third innings. Also, moving from a hitter friendly park to a pitcher friendly park should be beneficial to Bundy’s performance. With 2 years of control left, the Orioles should be looking to trade Bundy for whatever they can get back for him.