The Pirates have a little over 24-hours to finish making trades at this MLB trade deadline. Neal Huntington’s priority should be prying Gavin Lux away from the Dodgers.
Right now the Pirates are embarrassing themselves on the field. And this is from top to bottom. Management has been exceptionally poor this season and player performance has been inconsistent at best. However, the Pirates do have an opportunity to provide some hope for the near future.
Reports surfaced yesterday that the very active phone lines between the L.A. Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates are currently quiet as the two teams are at an impasse. The impasse is over Felipe Vazquez for the Pirates and Gavin Lux of the Dodgers.
There have been a large number of reports surrounding the Pirates and the Dodgers and it is safe to say that the Dodgers really want Felipe Vazquez. And they should. Vazquez is arguably the best bullpen arm in the league, is controllable through 2022, and is having one of the best seasons of his career. On top of that, the Dodgers have lost two World Series based on lack of reliable bullpen arms alone.
When the rumors started to surface, most people assumed that the Pirates would be after a package of Dodger prospects that including catcher Keibert Ruiz and pitcher Dustin May. Both Ruiz and May are top 100 prospects in the MLB and are the #2 and #3 prospects in the Dodgers system.
However, this package never made sense to me. I believe the Pirates are happy with Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings behind the plate. While Ruiz clearly has talent, his .258/.328/.339/.667 line over 332 plate appearances between AA and AAA this system doesn’t strike me as a major upgrade.
The Pirates need to take the next step. And to take the next step you need stars, not league-average players. Gavin Lux is a star.
Lux is a consensus top 10 prospect in the MLB. With 405 plate appearances, this season at AA and AAA Lux is slashing .357/.425/.629/1.054 with 21 home runs. Maybe those numbers are inflated since he played in AA – nope. In 114 plate appearances at AAA Lux has slashed .474/.553/.918/1.470. Now obviously these numbers are not going to directly translate to the Big Leagues, but it is abundantly clear that Lux is going to be a special player with a potential ceiling of being a perennial all-star.
While Vazquez is a clear star, I have more faith in the Pirates finding another star closer out of Kyle Crick, Richard Rodriguez, Edgar Santana (when he returns) and Keone Kela than the team finding an all-star middle infielder. Any package for Vazquez needs to include Lux.