Pittsburgh Pirates: Six Potential Joe Musgrove Trade Partners
By Noah Wright
Joe Musgrove is the most valuable trade piece that the Pittsburgh Pirates have. There are always teams looking for good starting pitching, and these six might be the most active when it comes to acquiring a starter.
One of the most valuable trade pieces that the Pittsburgh Pirates have is starting pitcher Joe Musgrove. Since arriving in Pittsburgh in the Gerrit Cole trade, Musgrove has established himself as a solid starting pitcher with improving numbers.
Between 2018 and 2019, the right hander posted a 4.28 ERA, but a 3.72 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, he walked just 5.1% of the batters he faced, allowed home runs at a solid 1.04 per 9 rate, and has posted a deserved run average (DRA) below 4.00 in both seasons. In 2018, his DRA was 3.43 and his DRA the following year was 3.59.
In this past year, Musgrove was limited to just 39.2 innings, but was excellent when he was healthy. He put up a 3.86 ERA, 3.19 FIP and 1.24 WHIP. Though his walk rate increased to 9.4%, his strikeout rate skyrocketed to above 30% at 33.1%, and his HR/9 remained relatively similar to his 2018-2019 numbers at 1.13. ERA estimators loved Musgrove as he put up a 3.19 xFIP, 3.54 SIERA and 3.64 DRA.
Impressively, opponents could only muster an 85.1 MPH exit velocity on Big Joe, which ranked in the top 91st percentile of all pitchers in 2020. In comparison, his opponent exit velo was 88.5 MPH in the two years prior. Combined with a hard hit rate of just 32.3% and career high ground ball rate of 48.4% and you have a really good pitcher on your hands. He was also above average in terms of xWOBA, fastball and curveball spin rates, and xSlugging.
Musgrove is controlled through 2022. If the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t feel they need to extend him, Musgrove could become a very valuable trade piece. He’s already garnered some attention in trade talks as he was almost dealt at the 2020 trade deadline. This off-season, there shouldn’t be a shortage of rumors surrounding the quality starting pitcher and the Pittsburgh Pirates. But who could we expect to see show some interest in Musgrove?