Pittsburgh Pirates: Frank Coonelly On Recent Trade Talks

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Editorial: Many times the Pittsburgh Pirates have been criticized for not making the big move.  Pirates Team President Frank Coonelly explained his thoughts on some recent trade talks to Adam Berry (Pirates beat writer at MLB.com).

Over the last few years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been competitive.  This has led to many fans pressing for the Bucs to make that one big move.  A move to give the team a legitimate shot at the World Series.  We saw this when there were talks with the Red Sox for Jon Lester and talks with the Tampa Bay Rays for David Price, both in 2014. Both time, the rumors were strong and it seemed the Bucs were going to land a top flight pitcher, but both times there was no deal.


Again, fans were upset when they didn’t make a major acquisition for the 98 win team in 2015. Players like Cole Hamels and David Price were available. Instead, they acquired a bunch of pieces like J.A. Happ, Michael Morse, Aramis Ramirez, and Joe Blanton.  All moves that improved the team. This outraged fans, as they wanted the management team to show them that the Pittsburgh Pirates were serious about winning.

Productive Trade giving up lower ranked prospects

However, what is forgotten is to get something really good one, has to give up something, if not multiple very good things.  Over the last few seasons, we have seen the Bucs give up mid-range prospects in deals and it has worked out.  Two seasons ago, they acquired J.A. Happ for a 20-30 ranked prospect in Adrian Sampson.  This past season, the Bucs acquired Ivan Nova. They got him for a 20-25 ranked prospect Stephen Tarpley and a fringe top 30 prospect Tito Polo.

More from Rum Bunter

Although these trade were never the big splash, they proved to be positive moves for the team.  Meanwhile, the Bucs were able to retain their top young players.  In 2014, the Red Sox requested Startling Marte in trade talks.  At the time, Marte was struggling, some fans were ready to give him up in a deal.  Today, I doubt many fans would go back and make that trade.

Essentially this is the basis for what Frank Coonelly had to say in his interview with Pirates Beat Writer Adam Berry at mlb.com.  The two discussed many subjects, including past trade talks, and how those talks have influenced them today.  Here is what Coonelly told Berry on the topic:

"Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Jameson Taillon. Those are the types of names that were asked for three and four years ago. The future of the Buccos in ’18, ’19 and ’20 are the names that are being asked for in some of the bigger trades that are out there.Click here to view Adam Berry’s full article/interview with Pirate’s president Frank Coonelly."

Essentially, Coonelly is confirming that teams asked for our top young talent in trade talks during those playoff years.  Polanco and Taillon were considered the Pittsburgh Pirates top hitting and pitching prospect during those years.  Now, he says that teams are still demanding the Pirates absolute high-end talent in trade talks.  He is likely referencing to trade talks for players like Jose Quintana, or one of the Rays starters that the Bucs have been linked to.  He is saying that the Bucs could have dealt players like Marte and Polanco a few years ago, but looking back, they seem to be better off having them today. This is very uncharacteristic of the Pittsburgh Pirates front office to speak about previous and current trade talks.

Next: Interview with Pitching Prospect

Final Thoughts

Now teams are asking for the next wave of big talent, such as Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow. Although it seems easy to say to trade them, the Pirates expect them to make positive impacts, just as Marte and Polanco have.  So the everlasting question still remains. Is it worth giving up top prospects who could help this team for multiple years to get short-term impact talent?  A question that will likely always be around this franchise.