Keeping Big Joe around
Joe Musgrove, just 27 years old, is entering his third season with the Pirates after coming over from the Astros in the Gerrit Cole trade prior to the 2018 season. In his two seasons with the Pirates, Musgrove has a 4.28 ERA in 51 games (50 starts) while recording 8.1 K/9 and limiting walks.
While the 4.28 ERA seems unspectacular on the surface, it does not tell the whole story. His career FIP with the Pirates is 3.72, which indicates that he has been unlucky in his time in Pittsburgh. The best may still be yet to come as Musgrove is just entering the prime of his career.
Although he is a younger player and his time with the Pirates has been brief, Musgrove has emerged as one of the leaders on this team and in the clubhouse. He has earned the reputation of being a tough guy who will not back away from anyone. A couple of instances of this were his confrontations with Javier Baez at second base, and squaring off with Josh Donaldson in Atlanta.
Musgrove is still under team control for three more seasons, but buying out his arbitration years and tacking on another couple years of control seems like a good idea for an emerging quality starting pitcher. Corey Kluber‘s five-year $38.5M guarantee with Cleveland in 2015 and Madison Bumgarner‘s five-year $35M guarentee in San Francisco could both serve as the groundwork in a potential deal.