Pittsburgh Pirates: An Interesting Gregory Polanco Trade


The Pittsburgh Pirates are continuously looking to improve their team.  There’s one suggested move the team could make.

The Pirates under Ben Cherington have started a full rebuild of the team.  The organization isn’t just targeting players in their rebuild but revamping the player development pipeline as the last regime struggled.  While pitchers such as Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow have been the big examples of the previous regime’s shortcomings, Gregory Polanco is another player who failed to develop.

Entering 2014, Polanco was considered a top 10 prospect in all of baseball.  The current right fielder was seen as having all five tools and the ability to play all three outfield positions at a high level.  However, he’s only hit .246/.313/.416 in his career (95 wRC+) and has consistently been injured throughout his time in Pittsburgh.  In his best year, 2018, Polanco posted a .254/.340/.499 line but ended the season hurt.

While Polanco is under contract for $11.6 million this year, has has two options at $12.5 million and $13.5 million.  Could he be a trade candidate?  Jim Bowden, of The Athletic, proposed a deal of Polanco to Boston for infielder Michael Chavis.  Polanco hit the ball hard last season and some of his underlying metrics could be of interest.  He’s still only 29, so maybe a bigger market team like Boston would be willing to pay the high price.

Chavis, who was drafted by Ben Cherington in 2014, hit .254/.322/.444 in 2019 but just .212/.259/.377 last year.  The right handed bat is a power hitting third baseman who might not fit in Boston. Meanwhile, the Pirates have been known to have suitors for Adam Frazier and might have room to get Chavis at bats.

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While a trade seems unlikely, Cherington has a history with Chavis and the infielder has five years of club control left.  Additionally, getting something for Polanco might be the best option as he likely won’t be part of the club’s next competitive team.  He hits the ball hard but has swing and miss issues and a long injury history.  Polanco represents another development failure of the previous front office, making this Bowden proposal interesting