Pittsburgh Pirates: Grading the Austin Davis Trade

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Michael Chavis #23 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Michael Chavis #23 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

As part of a busy trade deadline day on Friday the Pittsburgh Pirates traded left-handed reliever Austin Davis to the Boston Red Sox… let’s grade the trade for the Pirates

As was expected, in the week leading up to Major League Baseball’s traded deadline few teams were as active as the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the past week the Pirates swung six trades, including a tiro of trades on Friday prior to the 4 PM ET trade deadline.

One of the trades the Pittsburgh Pirates made on Friday saw them trade left-handed reliever Austin Davis to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for utility man Michael Chavis. How does this trade grade out for the Pirates?

To be honest, it was a surprise that general manager Ben Cherington was able to find a landing spot for Davis. In 9.2 innings of work this season Davis has allowed 6 this, 2 home runs, he’s walked 5 batters, hit a batter and struck out 11. Despite a strong 26.2% strikeout rate, he’s posted a 5.59 ERA and 5.43 FIP this season.

For his MLB career the 28-year-old lefty owns a 5.65 ERA and 4.99 FIP in 71.2 innings pitched. He’s walked 10.2% of batters faced, struck out 24.2%, allowed 74 hits and has allowed home runs at a rate of 1.63 HR/9.

It goes without saying that Davis has struggled in his MLB career. Due to this it did not appear that there would be any market at all for Davis leading up to the trade deadline. Despite this, Cherington managed to find a landing spot for Davis and he landed a former first-round pick in return.

Cherington was able to land Chavis from the Red Sox in exchange for Davis. Chavis was a first-round pick by the Red Sox in 2014 and entered the 2019 season ranked as the 3rd best prospect on Boston’s farm system by FanGraphs.

Chavis made his MLB debut in 2019 and did so with a strong campaign. In 382 plate appearances across 95 games Chavis hit for a .254/.322/.444 slash line to go with 96 wRC+. As a rookie in 2019 Chavis hit 18 home runs, drove in 58 runs and posted a strong isolated slugging (ISO) of .190.

Following his strong 2019 campaign it appeared that Chavis could be cementing himself as an important building block for the Red Sox. However, he has since fallen on hard times which led to him being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Since his strong 2109 season Chavis has accumulated 240 PAs, hitting for a .204/.242/.364 slash line and a wRC+ of 56 in 73 games played.

Coming through Boston’s minor league system FanGraphs gave Chavis a future value of 50 for game power and 65 for raw power. Few hitters in the Pirates farm system, especially in the upper levels, have this power potential. This alone makes adding Chavis for a a struggling middle reliever a win. The potential of what Chavis can bring to the Pittsburgh Pirates is light years higher than that of the potential that Davis ever would have brought to the squad.

While Chavis will begin his Pirate career with Triple-A Indianapolis, odds are, he will reach the active roster sooner rather than later. The this happens Derek Shelton will likely be looking to give Chavis an extended look. If Chavis can find a stroke anywhere near what he did as a rookie in 2019 that will be a boost to the Pirates.

Next. Rich Rod Traded to Atlanta. dark

The Verdict

Any time a MLB club can move a middle reliever for a potential every day player, or close to, it’s a win. Factor in how poor Davis has pitched in his MLB career with the power potential of Chavis and this trade could be a huge win for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Similar to the Clay Holmes trade earlier in the week, the fact Cherington got anything at all for Davis is a great job. To be honest, Boston giving up anything more than cash considerations or a low-level flier for Davis seems silly. Even if Chavis does not pan out for the Pirates, due to his potential, the fact they landed him for Davis is still a huge win.

Grade: A