Pittsburgh Pirates: Red Sox and Harrison a Match?


Editorial: The Pittsburgh Pirates are more than likely going to go into the trade deadline with an open mind.  They may not look to sell or buy per say, but consider all types of offers.  One player who could fall into this category is Josh Harrison.

Josh Harrison’s name started in trade rumors over this past offseason.  However, Harrison was coming off a bit of a question mark year after he hit a decent .283, but got on base at an abysmal .311 clip.  Meanwhile, he was still owed about $18 million over 2017 and 2018.  With his inability to get on base, teams were not overly interested in parting with anything of real value and locking them into his contract for a player who posted a 2.8 WAR over the course of 2015 and 2016.


Harrison has rebounded in 2017 so far.  Before a recent two-week slump, the 2017 all-star selection was hitting around .300 for most of the season.  Entering the all-star break, J-Hay is taking a .280 batting average, which is about expected for him.  However, the biggest difference is that he is getting on base at a .361 clip, which is significantly higher than his career .323 mark. Not to mention he is playing strong defense at second base, having a 2.8 UZR150 and 4 defensive runs saved.

In essence, Harrison’s strong season – added to the rumors in the offseason – has allowed his name to surface for trade speculation.  He has a relatively team friendly contract in terms of his 2017 statistical output.  However, if you compare his contract to his 2015 and 2016 numbers, it may not be the most team friendly, especially for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  So what this really comes down to is if the Pittsburgh Pirates feel now is the time to sell highest on Harrison.  This could especially be the thought process due to the team being on the outside looking in for the playoffs.

Red Sox a Match?

One team that could be interested in the Pittsburgh Pirates current second baseman is the Boston Red Sox.  With that being said, the Red Sox could be interested in Harrison as a third baseman and not a second baseman. They are the most notable team to be searching for a proven third baseman. With Pablo Sandoval eating up up a large percentage of their payroll and offering little to no production, they could look for a cheaper and more productive replacement.  The Sox have tried internal options like Christian Marrero, Josh Rutledge, and others, but they have put up the third lowest WAR in terms of the third base position in baseball.  Harrison has proven that he can play at an above average level at third base.  The Sox are also the type of team that Harrison’s contract would be a non-issue in terms of future financial commitment.

Next: Landing Spot for Nicasio and Cutch?

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have a strong farm system.  Josh Harrison’s trade value is estimated to be about $16 million.  This suggests that the Bucs could receive two prospects, one being ranked 7-10, and the other ranked in the 11-15 range. Two names that could make sense to target would be the Sox number seven prospect Travis Lakins or number nine prospect, Michael Chavis.  Lakins is a right handed power starting pitching prospect, while Chavis is a third base/second base prospect at the Double-A level.  These are two names that could make sense as starting points in a Josh Harrison trade.  It is very possible that the Sox will be contacting the Bucs in some capacity as the deadline approaches.

All Stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs