May 18, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Josh Harrison (5) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Should Look to Trade Josh Harrison


J-Hay.  You are the epitome of team player.

You’ve done everything the Pirates have asked of you with a steely resolve and a smile on your face.  You’ve accepted being optioned to AAA more times than I can count with grace and dignity.

You’ve came off the bench and spot started in every position but catcher and first base throughout your tenure here without ego or attitude.  You’ve even pitched!

You’ve shown that you have the ability to provide a spark and be an everyday big league player despite never really getting the chance to be one with this team. And even after all that you’ve done for the Pirates, they may ask for one more favor.

Get them a nice return in a trade.

Harrison’s been hitting the ball extremely well, getting on base consistently, and he’s proven that he can be the leadoff hitter that the Pirates have so desperately been looking for.  Not only that, but he’s made a series of circus catches over the last week that would make Andy Van Slyke proud.

So why on earth would it be the right idea to trade him??

Josh’s value is at an all-time high right now and it most likely won’t get any higher.  When you look around the Pirate’s roster, there aren’t THAT many big league players (that they could afford to part with) that would net a real solid return.

Tabata and Snider wouldn’t make any GM in the league so much as turn their head.  Jenmar Gomez’s stock has dropped as well as Vin Mazzaro’s.  Gaby Sanchez may garner a bit of a look in a division that is stacked with left handed starters, but aside from that… the cupboard is bare.

With Greg Polanco due to join the club in less than 3 weeks, that means J-Hay will once again be asked to take on a contributor role.

So what do you do with a guy that has done everything for you?

Many Pirate fans feel that giving him the opportunity to play shortstop is the answer.  Over the last 3 seasons, he’s played 31 games at SS with a .946 Fielding %.  That is well below the league average at the position.

He’s performed admirably in the role when the Pirates needed an occasional spot start, but the bottom line is that it would be miscasting him to play him there on a regular basis.  He just doesn’t have the experience necessary at short to have a solid command of the position and letting him learn on the fly wouldn’t be in the Pirate’s best interest.

So that leaves two options.

Squander the talent and leave Harrison on the bench as a pinch hitter and a utility player that can provide relief starts to multiple positions, or take advantage of his soaring value and try to make a deal with another team that can use him.   Whether it be a package deal or a solo trade, I think now more than ever before, J-Hay may be able to net a decent return.

I would think that the best the Pirates can expect for him would be a minor league arm.  Perhaps someone that can potentially make a run at the rotation in the second half or over the next year or two?

Either way, sadly, Harrison is going to be squeezed out of the lineup once again.  For me, when you have a guy that has been red hot and raised eyebrows of GM’s all over the league….now could be the ideal time to test the market for him.

Of course there would be no urgency in regards to dealing Harrison, so if the right deal doesn’t come their way than no need to pull the trigger, but in the event it does, thanks in advance J-Hay.

You deserve an opportunity to be an everyday player somewhere and I hope you get it.

Tags: Featured Image Greg Polanco Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates

  • steelerchick11

    I totally disagree on trading Harrison, and think it would be a huge mistake, just like letting Byrd leave!!!! Harrison is a versatile, dependable player, who has helped tremendously this season, and with the Pirates record as it is, they can’t afford to let him go. Stop trying to save a buck, and give the fans a winning team like last season, where they brought baseball back alive big time iin the BURGH!!!!

    • Tony Canella

      So what do you do with him when Greg Polanco gets called up is the question. Are you saying to keep him at right and not bring Polanco up?

    • Scott

      He goes back to being a bench player you can plug in at NUMEROUS positions to give a starter a day off and would be the best bench player the Pirates have. He would be a much better alternative than anyone else they have on their roster so why trade him? You stated that best case scenario would be a minor league arm in return so why weaken an already pathetic bench for a potential future pitcher if you’re trying to win now?

    • Tony Canella

      I wouldn’t say the bench is ‘pathetic’. Tabata(.316), Snider(.294), and Gaby Sanchez (.333) have all proved to be more effective pinch hitters then Harrison (.133). And you always have AAA options like Lambo and Chris Dickerson, both of which are hitting very well, that can be used to relieve the outfield.

      On the other side of that, if Mercer continues to struggle like he is now, you really don’t have another option at short past Barmes, so maybe they’re forced to stick him there.

    • Scott

      I dont think they should trade as well; I was never a Harrison fan but this year changed my mind. I dont think he’ll continue to hit this well but feel he can hit .250-.270 with a little pop and some speed and his versatility makes him the best bench player we have; the fact that other teams wouldnt consider any of our other bench players tells you just how deplorable this team is constructed! I felt all along they should have done all they could to keep Burnett, Byrd and Morneau and the Pirates would have been much stronger with more flexibility but management went cheap and the product and results speak for themselves!

  • Ross

    I complete agree with trading him…but I doubt there are any takers. Would any MLB team think of him as an everyday outfielder?

    But yeah…just like McLouth a few years ago…move him if you can. Especially with Polanco poised to take his place in RF.

    • Tony Canella

      There’s a few teams that are getting killed in right field that I think would take a look… fringe teams like the Twins and the D-Rays are getting next to no production out of that position. And even the Reds with all of their injuries and question marks could be looking to add depth. The Cubs might be willing to look as well based on their RF production.

      I agree the phones won’t be ringing off the hook, but I think he’s done enough in these last few weeks to make some teams take notice.

  • Aron Minkoff

    I honestly cannot see any sensible General Manager giving up anything of value for a career .250 hitter. Sure, his stock is high right now, but if performs poorly this series, his stock will drop again. No one will give up top-value until he performs at a high level for a considerable amount of time. In my eyes, he is a career utility man, a good one, but that is his ceiling.