Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Players Among MLB Trade Rumor’s Top Trade Candidates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 27: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on May 27, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 27: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on May 27, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

MLB Trade Rumors recently released their top 40 trade candidates list going into June. They ranked 4 Pittsburgh Pirates on their list of players.

MLB Trade Rumors has recently listed four Pittsburgh Pirates players as part of their top 40 trade candidates going into June. MLB Trade Rumors, a highly frequented site by a good portion of baseball fans, made this list based on the chances they are dealt, and the value they bring to the table. They also take into consideration the number of years they have left on their contract, and the salary owed to them.

The first player they have listed is at the #5 spot with lefty starter Tyler Anderson. Anderson’s bottom line numbers this year haven’t been the prettiest. Following Thursday’s start the southpaw has a 4.67 ERA, 4.16 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP through 61.2 innings of work. But he currently holds a 6.6% walk rate, which would be tied for his second-best mark throughout his entire career. His 23.0% strikeout rate is a career-best, and his 3.24 K/BB ratio is another second career-best mark. It’s been the long ball that has bitten Anderson at times with a 1.46 HR/9 rate.

Aside from one blow-up start this season, Anderson has been excellent. He’s given up 2 or fewer earned runs in 6 of his 11 total starts this season and no more than 3 in just 9 starts. All told, he has a 4.09 xFIP, 4.07 SIERA, has only allowed line drives at an 18.2% rate, and has, overall, been a better pitcher than his bottom line suggests.

Right behind him at their #6 spot is second baseman and outfielder Adam Frazier. It’s no surprise that Frazier is among the top trade candidates in baseball. He’s currently hitting .333/.393/.477 with a .379 wOBA, and 142 wRC+. However, he hasn’t been much of a defender at the keystone this year with -6 DRS, -16 UZR/150, -1.6 range runs above average, and in the bottom 19th percentile in outs above average.

Frazier’s career-best numbers have been fueled by an outstanding 30.3% line drive rate, the 4th highest in baseball, and 35.1% ground ball rate, the 18th lowest in baseball. Overall, he is third among second basemen in wRC+, wOBA, and OPS. However, he does have some worrying underlying stats. He only has an xwOBA Of .335, and xSLG of .394. Plus his DRC+ stands at 116. He has only been a league-average batter for most of his career, having a 100 wRC+ from 2016-2020, and a career mark of 105. If the Pittsburgh Pirates have any desire to trade Frazier, now is the time.

MLB Trade Rumors ranked three Pittsburgh Pirates in a row with closer Richard Rodríguez in 7th. Like Frazier, Rich Rod is having a career-best year. Through 23.1 innings, the right-hander has a 1.54 ERA, 1.93 FIP and 0.61 WHIP. Rodríguez has only allowed walks at a minuscule 2.5% rate, which is the 5th best mark among all relievers with at least 20 innings. He also hasn’t allowed a home run yet, which is promising as the long ball has been his biggest weakness the last few seasons.

Rodríguez had a strikeout rate above 30% in two of his last three seasons, but he’s rarely getting any strikeouts this season. He currently only has a 20.5% mark. He is in the bottom 11th percentile in chase rate and bottom 21st percentile in whiff rate. But he is still in the top 95th percentile in fastball spin rate, and his -2.7 RV/100 ranks 4th among pitchers with at least 50 batters faced.

The fourth player they listed comes in at the #31 spot. That’s catcher Jacob Stallings. Stallings has silently become one of the most valuable backstops in all of baseball. He’s currently hitting for a very solid .235/.329/.419 line, has a .329 wOBA, and 109 wRC+. He’s walked at an 11.6% rate and has a .184 isolated slugging percentage.

However, it’s the defense where Stallings shines. He already has +7 DRS, and +1.5 framing runs. He leads all catchers in DRS by a 3-run margin and is 7th in framing. He’s also caught runners trying to steal at an above-average rate of 28%. He’s currently on pace for +18 DRS, and +3.8 framing runs across 800 innings caught.

Now the chances Stallings is dealt are likely low. Sure, he’s a bit older at 31-years-old, but his outstanding glove, pitch framing, and game-calling abilities make him a top-3 defender behind the dish. With so much young pitching, that’s something that helps in the long run. Stallings will enter his first year of arbitration this upcoming off-season. Unless a team offers up a very highly touted prospect, or multiple top 100 prospects, Stallings probably won’t be moved.

MLB Trade Rumors also lists other players the Pittsburgh Pirates have to keep an eye on as they could get some attention this year in trades. Colin Moran, Chris Stratton, Steven Brault, Chad Kuhl, and Trevor Cahill are no surprises as potential names that could come up in future trade rumors. However, they also list Mitch Keller.

The former top prospect has been an extremely inconsistent pitcher. So far in 5 of his starts, he’s gone at least 5 innings, has allowed 2 or fewer runs with at least 5 strikeouts. However, he’s also allowed just as many, if not more earned runs than innings pitched in his other five starts.

Keller just turned 25 at the beginning of April. In all likelihood, if the PittsburghvPirates were to move Keller, it would be a prospect-for-prospect kind of deal (unless obviously a team would offer up something like a young, and talented proven major league player with 3+ years of control remaining), sort of like when the St. Louis Cardinals traded Marco Gonzales to the Seattle Mariners for outfield prospect Tyler O’Neill at the 2017 trade deadline.

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Overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates should be one of the more active teams at the trade deadline. They have some very intriguing pieces to sell, and there should be no shortage of buyers this year. Every division this year has at least 3 teams that are within 5 games of their division lead. Things could change over the next month, but this could be a very good opportunity for the Bucs to deepen their already impressive farm system. After all, Ben Cherington has gotten back almost full value, if not more than that, in each of the trades he’s made so far.