Number 5 – catcher Jacob Stallings
The thought of the Pittsburgh Pirates exploring a Jacob Stallings trade is likely an unpopular one with many Pirate fans. After all, Stallings has become one of the more underrated and under-appreciated players in baseball. While also consistently coming through in the clutch for the Pirates.
Stallings is one of the best defensive catchers in all of baseball, leading MLB catchers in Defensive Runs Saved (+10) entering play on Saturday. He is also a plus pitch framer and has thrown out attempted base runners at an above average rate (28%).
Offensively, Stallings has been slightly below league average. On the season he his hitting for a .226/.311/.387 slash line to go with a wRC+ of 96. While this wRC+ puts Stallings 4% below the league average of 100, it is still solid for a catcher.
All of this has led to Stallings being worth a 1.2 fWAR through the first three months of the season. This puts Stallings on pace to be close to being a 3.0 fWAR player this season which would put him among the best, most valuable catchers in baseball.
The biggest factor in the potential trade value Stallings could have is that he is controlled through the 2024 season. While 2024 is likely to be among the early seasons of the next Pirate window of contention, top catching prospect Endy Rodriguez should be MLB ready by then. Additionally, moving Stallings could help the team add young players/prospects who could help speed up that next window of contention.
Teams are always looking for catching help. A catcher that carries 3 and a half year of team control, while being one of the best defensive catchers in the game and a close to league average hitter could carry a ton of trade value. This is why Stallings is among the most valuable trade chips the Pirates have.