Editorial: How should the Pittsburgh Pirates approach this year’s deadline? We asked our followers and they answered. The results were surprisingly close.
The other day on Rum Bunter’s twitter account, we ran a poll asking how the Pittsburgh Pirates should approach this year’s deadline. The exact question was this, “Would you be okay if the Bucs took a similar approach this trade deadline as they did last with a soft sell?” The two answers were as follows, “Yes, get pieces for 2018; No, the central is weak.” Essentially the point of the poll was to see what fans think the most logical scenario to play out for the Pittsburgh Pirates going forward is.
Well, the results were close, the margin between the two answers was only 10 percent. The winning result was “Yes, get pieces for 2018.” The idea of a soft sell would be for the Pittsburgh Pirates to sell off their pending free agents, and possibly look for players who could help post-2017 deadline and into next season. For instance, the Pittsburgh Pirates were soft sellers at the 2016 trade deadline. Last year the Bucs moved their pending free agent in Mark Melancon. After seeing what the Yankees and Indians got for their closers, many expected a huge haul of prospects back for Melancon. Instead, Neal Huntington targeted less in terms of prospects, and looked for MLB ready talent. The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired reliever Felipe Rivero and prospect Taylor Hearn.
This is the definition of what many fans would like to see the Pittsburgh Pirates do again this year. Trade players who are going to walk at the end of the year for a player who may not be as experienced, but can make a potential impact going forward. The pending free agents for the Pirates are as follows: Juan Nicasio, Tony Watson, and John Jaso. Nicasio will likely gain the biggest return, and likely the one who will be able to attract a big league piece back, or at least a MLB ready prospect.
The other 45 percent of people voted for the Pittsburgh Pirates to not sell at this deadline. They voted based on that fact that the NL Central is, in a way, very open at this point. The Brewers are leading the division, a team that no one expected to be competitive this season. The Pirates have played about 5-7 games back for the past two months or so. The fans who want the Bucs to buy believe that if they can get the right pieces the Bucs could make a run at a division title. Many fans wanted Quintana, but he is no longer on the block. So what other cheaper, controllable options could the Pirates look at? The names that fit this category would be Sonny Gray, Julio Teheran, or even Chris Archer. However, this does not seem likely given Neal Huntington’s trade history.
The most logical thing that Neal Huntington would do is something similar to what he did last trade deadline. Last year, Huntington brought in Ivan Nova at the trade deadline. He bought low on Nova and turned it into the patent Pirates revitalizing a pitchers career move. However, because of this, the Pirates were able to start laying ground work early to retain Nova who was a pending free agent. This seems to be the trend Neal Huntington has stuck to over the last few years, in 2015 it was J.A. Happ who the Bucs acquired and found success with. So the most logical, and likely, approach for the inconsistent Pirates might be to do a soft sell while buying pieces for the immediate future.