April 18, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Batting practice balls await use by the Atlanta Braves before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates begin the second half of the season primed to finally catch the St. Louis Cardinals and win the National League Central crown.
It is July 29th, a scant two days before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. The time is ripe to ask ourselves – do the Pirates have enough to do it?
We’ll save that question for another day. What we are here to do now is identify the Top Five trade pieces currently in the Pirates organization. To accurately set our expectations for any potential acquisition, we need to look at our own cupboards to see what we have to barter with. This year is a unique one during this resurgence, as the team does not have any absolutely glaring needs. The debate gets very philosophical very quickly. It very neatly boils down to need vs want.
Of course we’ve been here before. Last year by all accounts the Pirates were in on David Price but balked at the asking price. In one of Travis Sawhik’s recent Starting 9 pieces, he reminded us of that:
"Recall, the Pirates were in the mix last year to land David Price, who is earning $19.8 million this season. The Pirates offered a prospect-laden package — and believed it was competitive — but the Tampa Bay Rays preferred young major league-ready talent and traded Price for a package of players that included Drew Smyly and Nick Franklin."
2014 was a borderline need/want year. Obviously we saw that the Pirates did not need an addition to make the playoffs. But would an additional pitcher have helped save Cole for the wild card game? Yes. Probably. Maybe. We will never know. But for the purpose of this article we are going to assume that this is a need year. That the Pittsburgh Pirates need that one last piece to truly vault past the Cards.
Here are the top five pieces that will help us get there.
We start with a very surprising choice.
Next: #5 - Never discount the value of a left hander