Jul 20, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates trade rumors certainly show the team will be buyers at the deadline as they have just eclipsed the St. Louis Cardinals for second in the NL Central division. Rumors have stated that the Pirates are interested in Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo and that they might look to add another reliever after that. However, those aren’t the sexy moves that fans want to read about.
In recent days, sources have indicated that the Pirates are throwing their names in the running for top rotation pitchers like David Price and Jon Lester. Any team would get better by adding talent that Price and Lester possess. However, the Pirates would be better served looking elsewhere for a big move.
The Pirates have the ability to pull off a big time trade. Keith Law, of ESPN, recently had four Pirates prospects ranked in his top 50. He also had three more rounding out his top 100. While the Pirates are high on their prospects, they also understand that they want to win now. The Pirates will make moves at the deadline, they might just be small additions bolstering the bullpen, but again why not at least consider the potential of a blockbuster deal?
David Price has been the biggest name on the trade block for the last month. He has been outstanding almost single handedly bringing his team back into the playoff picture, but there are factors that should dissuade the Pirates from going after Price. For starters, his price… pun intended, is at an all-time high. He is having another great year and has only been getting better as the season has progressed. Therefore, he Tampa Bay Rays will command many if not all of the Pirates young top-50 prospects. That can be done, but is Price worth it? The simple answer is yes.
Why Price isn’t worth it though is because he would only be the Pirates’ player for this year and next. He will garner top dollar from the highest bidders at the conclusion of the 2015 season. That doesn’t bode well for the Pirates. The questions must be asked: Is Price a top player? Absolutely. Is he worth the Pirates top prospects? I, and many General managers, believe so. Is he worth all those prospects for only a year and a half? That’s where I don’t believe he is.
Jon Lester has only recently become a top name among the trade block. The Boston Red Sox have struggled and appeared to be in position to clean house. Lester is having a career year and, just like Price, is a fantastic player. However, Lester is even less desirable due to his expiring contract at the end of this year. Both players are commanding top offers from multiple teams, which is only driving their cost up. The Pirates should and will be buyers at the deadline, but they shouldn’t jeopardize the next five years for a run at this year.
“I don’t want to be the next in line as somebody who was here for a long time and didn’t have a chance to win every single year” – Troy Tulowitzki
Now the fun part, exploring what magic the Pirates could pull at the deadline. A name that has just recently been mentioned in trade rumors is Troy Tulowitzki. Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post recently reported that Tulowitzki wanted to get back to competitive baseball. “I don’t want to be the next in line as somebody who was here for a long time and didn’t have a chance to win every single year” said Tulowitzki. The Pirates would have to give up just as many prospects to land Tulowitzki as Price or Lester, but his contract is a much better fit for the Pirates organization. Tulowitzki would be under the Pirates control until 2022.
After a trade for Tulowitzki, the Pirates would certainly have one of the top lineups in baseball. He leads the National League in batting average, which would make for a good matchup with the reigning MVP, Andrew McCutchen. The move would probably slide Mercer to third base and send Alvarez to first. The move would essentially be taking Ike Davis out of the lineup and inserting Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki brings a batting average almost .100 points higher, 15 more homeruns, and an increase in WAR (wins above replacement) of over 6 wins.
The biggest reason for the Pirates targeting Tulowitzki over other big names like Price and Lester is that he doesn’t just give them a shot to win this year, but for many years to come.
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Pirates trade rumors are all over the place that Neal Huntington will be active at this years deadline.