With only two days remaining before the MLB trade the Pirates have been fairly active in attempting to put together a trade to significantly improve the team. The time for the Pirates to go “all-in” is now.
With their victory over the Giants tonight, the Pirates moved within one game of the first place Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central and are tied for either of the two wild card spots. The division is winnable and the Pirates need to improve their roster in order to take that next step.
With Russell Martin, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez potentially pricing themselves out of the Pirates future plans, the Pirates may not have a better chance at a NL Central pennant than they do now. I agree with Neil Huntington, there is not a closing window with this team, however the current team, with a little bit of trade help could become NL Central favorites.
The Pirates were linked by several insiders on Tuesday to Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester and Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price. Both Price and Lester will cost a pretty penny to acquire. It seems evident that AJ Burnett is not going to make a return to Pittsburgh. Burnett is unwilling to guarantee that he will waive his $12.5 million player option for 2015 and he is certainly not in the Pirates future plans.
Antonio Bastardo and Marlon Byrd appear to be two viable options for the Pirates from the Phillies. Byrd is under contract for 2015 and would provide insurance for Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte and Bastardo would add a decent arm to the bullpen.
In order to acquire a player like Lester or Price it will likely cost the Pirates some combination of their “big 3” prospects, Josh Bell, Nick Kingham and Tyler Glasnow. Prospects are groomed to be either brought up or traded for players that can help you in the present. The think with those three guys are they are prospects, only prospects. Bell could flourish into the next Andrew McCutchen or he could be the next Jaff Decker. Glasnow and Kingham could be the next Gerrit Cole or they could be the next Bryan Bullington.
If you can get an elite starting pitcher, one that you could give the ball to in Game five of the NLDS or game seven of the NLCS you have to do it. If you really think that the Pirates are in a position to make a run at the pennant this year, than there is no reason to not go “all-in” this season.
Imagine a Pirates rotation of Jon Lester, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez, that is a stellar rotation. With the way those guys have been pitching lately, the Pirates will pitch their way into a playoff spot. If the Pirates want to do more than just appear in October, it would behoove them to trade for another bat, say a Marlon Byrd, Alex Rios or Mike Carp.
There are plenty of options out there for the Pirates, it is just a matter of making the right decision for the team. The ball is in your court Neal Huntington.
What do you think? Are the Pirates good enough to win the pennant this year if they add an elite arm? Should the Pirates trade for an elite arm?
As always for Pirates news and tweets follow @aronminkoff.
Update 12:30 a.m.:
Tom Singer of MLB.com is reporting that the Pirates want to get a Lester deal done by Wednesday evening. He is reporting that Bell, Kingham, Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Jameson Taillon are all off of the table. Potential trade bait for Lester include Jose Tabata, Alen Hanson and Jacoby Jones. Read more here.