Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Targeting San Diego Pitchers


The Pittsburgh Pirates have crawled back into the playoff picture.  As the deadline approaches tomorrow at 4:00, the Pirates appear to be in the market for some pitching help in both the bullpen and starting rotation.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for some help in the final two months, but where the team sits in terms of playoff odds, the club should be looking for marginal upgrades this year or upgrades for both now and the future.  The club has been connected for the latter upgrades with Kevin Gausman and Mychal Givens from Baltimore and they’ve even been connected to the big fish in Chris Archer from Tampa Bay.

In terms of marginal upgrades for 2018 that wouldn’t cost much in future players, the bullpen represents the market, especially in the marginal area; players with one or two years of club control and of the mid relief type.

That’s what the San Diego Padres have, and it appears the Pirates are targeting their pitchers according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:

Pittsburgh having liked Stammen in the past isn’t too surprising given his ability to generate the groundball.  In the write up of three right-handed pitchers to target, Stammen was mentioned with the following conclusion:

"“What Stammen would provide is a solid mid relief role bridging the gap to Santana, Crick, and Vazquez.  For his career he possesses a 50.1 percent groundball rate, and he is once again generating groundballs at a high clip this year.  While the strikeouts aren’t there (they are so far this year), the groundball inducing Stammen could fulfill that Jared Hughes role that the bullpen has missed since 2016, he just comes with much better strikeout rates.”"

Other players of interest could include Kirby Yates, a free agent after 2020 and is arbitration eligible for the next two seasons.  The 31-year-old features a 4.14 ERA, but this year he’s at 1.60.  His biggest attribute is the strikeout, career rate of 30.7 percent (this year is at 32.1 percent), and is getting a swinging strike at a rate of 15.3 percent (career 13.2 percent).   His ability to miss bats and control would be of interest to any club looking to add relief help for multiple years.

Matt Strahm is a 26-year-old left-handed reliever who isn’t arbitration eligible until after 2019 and is under club control through 2022 could also be a fit.  Outside of Felipe Vazquez, the only other left-handed reliever is Steven Brault, and he has struggled in his career.  Strahm has a 2.15 ERA in 37.7 innings this season with a 23.5 percent strikeout rate.

One other pitcher could be Tyson Ross, who the team has had interest in the past.  Ross is a free agent at year’s end and has a 4.41 ERA in 118.3 innings.

The Pirates have been connected to pitchers throughout the recent week, it’s the one area where the Pirates could see the most help for not just 2018 but in future years.  At least one of the Padres pitchers seems to be of their current interest.

*Numbers from Fangraphs