Pittsburgh Pirates: Your Guide to the 2020 Trade Deadline

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Derek Holland #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on August 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Derek Holland #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on August 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 05: Trevor Williams #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks to the dugout during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at PNC Park on August 5, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 05: Trevor Williams #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks to the dugout during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at PNC Park on August 5, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Garnering Interest

If you haven’t already heard, both Chad Kuhl, and Trevor Williams are getting some attention from the Toronto Blue Jays. Out of the two, Williams would probably be the more likely to be traded. Williams has, so far, had a solid bounce back season. Through 24.1 innings, he’s posted a 3.70 ERA, 4.20 FIP and 1.35 WHIP. He’s also put up a solid 7.5% walk rate and has had a career high 21.7% strikeout rate.

Home runs have been a bit of an issue for him as he carries a 1.1 HR/9. However, ERA estimators haven’t been kind to him with a 4.63 xFIP and 4.48 SIERA. Still, with two years of control left, he would be a solid back end starter for a competing team.

Kuhl on the other hand, has had a strong 2.98 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP through 19 innings of work. He’s also put up a career high 25.7% strikeout rate. But he has given up four home runs, resulting in a 1.9 HR/9 and 4.98 FIP. With Kuhl just coming off Tommy John surgery, and still showing some really impressive stuff, the Pittsburgh Pirates might hold on to him for now as he might not be at peak value yet.

Richard Rodriguez might also be a hot commodity at the deadline. So far, he’s had a nice bounce back season with a 3.09 ERA, 3.39 FIP and 0.51 WHIP across 11.2 innings of work. He’s allowed just one batter to reach base via walk, and has sat down 16 others on strike three. But the 4 runs he has given up, three have come via the home run ball. Regardless, Rich Rod still has really strong ERA estimators with a 3.19 xFIP and 2.03 SIERA.

Switch hitting first baseman Josh Bell has gotten off to a slow start in 2020, but that’s nothing new around the league. Many MVP-caliber bats from 2019 are also struggling. He fits right in line with Nolan Arenado, Marcus Semien, Rafael Devers, Eugenio Suarez, and Shohei Ohtani. Still, that doesn’t mean that Bell is devoid of value. He was outstanding in 2019, batting .277/.369/.569 with a 142 OPS+, 135 wRC+, and 37 long balls/doubles. He’s also still making extremely hard contact, being in the top 86th percentile of exit velocity. The thing is, he’s been hitting ground balls 50.8% of the time, a 6.8%  increase from 2019. Still, with his outstanding exit velocity, hard hit rates, and 2019 performance, Bell might gain some interest in teams looking for an impact bat with control left.

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