According to a prominent insider, the Pittsburgh Pirates are considering trading a key veteran.
Entering the off-season it seemed logical to think that the Pittsburgh Pirates could consider a Jacob Stallings trade. He is coming off of a career year that saw him win the Gold Glove. Furthermore, he is controlled for multiple years, all the way through 2024.
On the other hand, one could make an argument that keeping Stallings could be vital to the Pittsburgh Pirates future. After all, having a veteran, Gold Glove catcher behind the plate for a young pitching staff is never a bad idea. Also, he is their best option right now with no immediate replacements ready.
Well according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Pirates have chosen a route they plan on taking in regards to the backstop this offseason. Rosenthal put out a note late last night in his most recent off-season column that the Pittsburgh Pirates have indeed made it known that Jacob Stallings is available. Here is a part from Rosenthal’s note section:
"The Athletics’ Sean Murphy and Pirates’ Jacob Stallings are among the catchers available in trade…"
Rosenthal goes on to describe the catching market. Overall, it sounds like there are not a whole lot of quality backstops available, so it should really come as no surprise that there is a potential market for Stallings. The question will be whether or not there is a good enough return out there for him.
While Jacob Stallings brings a lot of value to the Pittsburgh Pirates currently, he could have more value as a trade piece. The 2022 Bucs should look a little better on paper, but they are still not expected to be true competitors. If the true window is to be in 2023 then can Jacob Stallings continue to produce at the same level?
Stallings will be 32 years old this December, which would make him 33 for the entirety of the 2023 season. He is controlled through 2024, which of course, puts no pressure to get a deal done this offseason. However, he is on the wrong side of 30 and the game itself shifting away from retaining aging players, it makes sense why the Pirates would consider moving him now.
Also, Cherington has shown that he is willing to be aggressive to make a deal. Rosenthal says that Stallings is one of the available catchers on the trade market. When it is put that way it sounds like opposing teams and Cherington have already had discussions. It will be interesting to see if anything else comes of this rumor in the near term future. After all, the lockout is projected to go into place by next weekend, making teams move a little quicker than normal.