Pittsburgh Pirates: How Trades Will Look at the 2020 Deadline

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball.  In fact, they are viewed as one of the only true sellers heading into the deadline.

Trust the process.  This is something that Pittsburgh Pirates fans do not want to hear, but the reality is this is all we can do.  The previous regime was fired and when the new regime was hired we heard a lot about being patient.  This new Front Office said that they were going to build this team back up and a key would be to do through the farm.

Right off the bat Ben Cherington looked to bolster the farm system and swung a deal.  He dealt Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two top 10 prospects.  Initially, fans were not happy with the return.  While many knew they would seek prospects in return, they were hoping for closer to MLB ready.  Both Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone were 19 years of age when the trade was completed.

A complaint about the previous regime was that they would not get enough high upside prospects in trades.  That seems to be the difference between Cherington and Huntington, with the latter taking safer lower ceiling, but high floor players that were in the upper minors, i.e. the Gerrit Cole trade.  Cherington, on the other hand, received two players who will likely not be up for a few years but the prospects are already being talked about for future top 100 lists.

This was something that we talked about here at Rum Bunter and a lot of other sites did as well.  Some flipped their opinion after learning more about the prospects and understood the thought process of getting top value over MLB ready.  This is something that hopefully Cherington will stick to as he tries to get this franchise back on the winning track.

Many were looking forward to this year’s trade deadline to see what Cherington would be able to do.  Instead, the season was delayed and many things changed, as the deadline will be August 31st.  Part of the rules that are in place restricts teams from trading any players that are not on their 60 man rosters for the season.  Teams would also not be able to necessarily acquire data on players due to no scouting, which obviously limits current data on a player.

These two things looked to be huge roadblocks for teams trying to make any type of significant trade deadline deals.  However, coming out over the last few days there has been some good news on both of these fronts.  First, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN reported that the MLB agreed to set up a platform for teams to be able to share data on players if they choose to opt-in.  McDaniel tweeted:

The update is from August 13th so it will be interesting to see if any more teams decide to use the platform or not.  Also, if there will be any other changes for teams requesting data on prospects.  Overall this is good for the game as the deadline is often one of the most exciting days of the year for the sport.  The more movement the better.

The last note comes from Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs.  A big question has been if teams will be willing to make trades if they cannot acquire players who are not on the 60 man roster.  Well, there is a loophole for teams.  Longenhagen explained that players off the 60 man roster will be called the famous “Player to be Named Later” or PTBNL (Chat 12:58 timestamp):

"asnbrv: How would PTBNLs work this year? Can teams complete PTBNL trades after the “player must be on the 60 player pool to be traded” rule doesn’t apply anymore in the off season?Eric A Longenhagen: That’s what I’ve been told by FO folks, yes."

In the past, this has never been that inspiring as it’s a prospect down the line and lower ranked. This year could be different depending on if that player is on the 60 man roster or not.  Teams do not necessarily have all of their top prospects on their 60 man rosters either.  Teams kept a lot of their younger prospects off the 60 man rosters.

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Just look at the Pittsburgh Pirates, who do not have their 2019 first-round pick, Quinn Priester, in the player pool.  If the team is active on the market and looks for younger prospects, like they did for Marte, do not panic if the return is a PTBNL.  The prospect could still be a notable one coming back.