Pittsburgh Pirates: Four SP Pitching Trade Targets This Off-Season

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /
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James Paxton

Would be a Solid Pickup for the Pittsburgh Pirates” width=”590″ height=”391″ /> Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

James Paxton

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have a right-handed heavy pitching rotation.  The only left-handed “starter” currently on the team is Jeff Locke.  Locke will most likely be traded or designated for assignment this off-season.  The other option would be Steven Brault, but he has initially failed to prove that he should be counted on as a big league starter next season.  Currently, the rotation sets up with Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Chad Kuhl most likely as locks.  These pitchers are all right-handed.  With the right handed dominate trio, the Bucs should be looking to add at least one left-handed pitcher this off-season.

Blockbuster Deal?

A few days ago, Rum Bunter posted an article discussing the rumor that the Seattle Mariners have interest in Andrew McCutchen.  Much of the speculation suggests that the Pittsburgh Pirates could demand at-least one of James Paxton or Taijuan Walker.  Of the two, Paxton seems to be the better fit.  Paxton has put together a nice career so far for himself, and as mentioned earlier will fit into the rotation better as a lefty.

The biggest thing that can make Paxton attractive to the Pittsburgh Pirates, is that he has three years of control left.  This is one of the biggest things we see with the Pittsburgh Pirates when making trades.  When they traded Neil Walker last year, they acquired Jon Niese with the option to have him for three years.  When they received Felipe Rivero in return for Mark Melancon, they also received five years of control with him.  Paxton is entering his first year of arbitration which would make him a lock here in Pittsburgh for at-least two more seasons.

The Numbers

The one main issue with Paxton is he is very injury prone. The 27-year-old has not made more than 20 starts in a season in his four-year career.  However, in his career he owns a 3.43 earned run average.  This includes a solid 2016 campaign making 20 starts, posting a 3.79 earned run average, a 2.80 FIP, and a career high in innings pitched at 121.  However, it will not be easy to acquire James Paxton, but if the Bucs are serious about moving Andrew McCutchen, he would be my primary target in trade talks.