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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<img class="size-large wp-image-87911" src="https://rumbunter.com/files/2016/10/9545005-gio-gonzalez-mlb-washington-nationals-atlanta-braves-850×560.jpg" alt="If made available the Pittsburgh Pirates should check in on

Gio Gonzalez

” width=”590″ height=”389″ /> Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez

This is a similar explanation to the James Paxton reasoning. Gio Gonzalez is another left-handed pitcher who could be on the trade market this winter.  Gonzalez is in the final two years of a contract that will pay him 24 million over those final years.  At 12 million dollars a year, this is very affordable for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Will he be available?

As of this past season Gio Gonzalez is the Washington Nationals number three starter, behind Scherzer and Strasburg of course.  However, the Nationals have high upside and cheaper options they could roll with next season.  The first option is Tanner Roark, who is now just entering his first season of arbitration and will likely make a third of what Gonzalez will make. The other options are young top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez.  Both were considered two of the top pitching prospects in the game and made their MLB debuts last season.  Both will make league minimum and need to be in the rotation next season to continue and develop.

The reason money keeps on being brought up is because the Nationals have a hole in their outfield.  They got little production from their center field spot when Trea Turner was not playing there.  They ideally would like to use Turner at shortstop next season.  With the money saved by trading Gonzalez, the Nationals could reallocate it for a better center fielder, and they could allow their younger, and cheaper pitchers, to be a part of the rotation.

The Numbers

Now, for the Pittsburgh Pirates side of things there is not much to say.  They could use at-least a veteran, or at-least a left-handed pitcher.  With Gio Gonzalez, they could get both!  In Gonzalez’s career he owns a 3.73 earned run average along with a 3.53 FIP, suggesting that he pitches better than his results.  This would likely be a good thing coming to a ball park that is friendly to pitchers, especially left-handed ones.

Gonzalez is also a work horse.  We saw what injuries can do to a team’s rotation and playoff chances.  The left-handed pitcher has only had one season with less than 30 starts since 2010, and his low was at 27 games started.  Gio Gonzalez would be a solid pickup for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He is a veteran, who can eat innings, and pitch effectively at PNC.  He might be the top pitcher on the list I would like. The lone problem is that the Nationals will need to make him available, and there is no guarantee that they will.  However, with plenty of other rotation options they could look to cut ties with him.