Pirates Trade Deadline Update: Nicasio and Watson

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 07: Juan Nicasio ; Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 07: Juan Nicasio ; Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

News: The busiest day of the MLB season is occurring today, the MLB trade deadline.  Rumors have been swirling, but things have been quiet on the Pirates front with less than an hour to go.

Bill Brink offered an update on the Pirates:

Which is not really a surprise.  The Pirates are 5.5 games out of first place with a 4.0 percent shot at the playoffs according to Baseball Prospectus, so the want to be selling off expiring contracts, especially those of relievers, isn’t a surprise.

Juan Nicasio has a 2.42 ERA and 2.71 FIP to go along with a 25.0 percent strikeout rate.  He has been an excellent relief pitcher.  He has a 3.42 ERA and 2.77 FIP in that role since 2015.  Teams area always looking for relief help at the deadline, and there should be suitors, though Cleveland and Boston have filled their void with Joe Smith and Addison Reed respectfully.

Addison Reed, who has a 2.57 ERA and 3.15 FIP this year for the Mets, brought back three top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline for New York.  A similar return should be expected if the Pirates want prospects in return.

Tony Watson struggled as a closer this season, but has kept left handed hitters to a .316 wOBA and an estimated wOBA (xwOBA) of .278.  Francisco Liriano brought the Toronto Blue Jays back Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez, a current MLB player and top 10 Astros prospect.  There should be a potential market there, maybe a team such as Los Angeles.  And in fact Ken Rosenthal just mentioned that in case Los Angeles can’t get a deal for Zach Britton.

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The return of controllable relief pitchers also isn’t a shock, that’s what the Pirates acquired last season for Mark Melancon.  As the Pirates look to build for not just this year, where their odds are low, acquiring talent for 2018 and on now can help build a foundation for what they can add in the offseason to fill holes.  The deadline is close, but the Pirates always operate tight to the wire.

*Numbers from fangraphs