Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Trade Fit With the New York Mets

With the trade deadline less than a month away the Pittsburgh Pirates will be trading away some veterans, and they could be trade partners with the New York Mets

MLB’s trade deadline is less than a month away. Between now and the August 2nd trade deadline, odds are, the Pittsburgh Pirates will trade away several veterans as they continue to create playing time for young players and, hopefully, move toward the end of their current rebuild.

One veteran that the Pirates could look to trade is designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach. The left-handed hitting DH is putting together the best seasons of his career. Entering play on Wednesday, Vogey was hitting for a .235/.335/.446 slash line to go with a 13.1% walk rate, 23.7% strikeout rate, 119 wRC+ and a 118 OPS+.

Vogelbach’s slugging percentage, wRC+ and OPS+ are all career highs. His walk rate and on-base percentage are the second highest of his career, and his strikeout is the second lowest of his career.

What may be most encouraging is that Vogelbach’s results are not due to a small sample size or anything of the sort. He entered Wednesday with 236 plate appearances this season. This is already the third most PAs in a single season of Vogelbach’s career and puts him on pace for 540 PAs which would be the second most of his career.

Vogelbach’s average exit velocity ranks in the 75th percentile of baseball, his hard-hit rate is in the 80th percentile and his barrel rate is in the 86th percentile. He is a tremendous clubhouse presence and mentor for young hitters, as well as having postseason experience. These are all factors in driving up Vogelbach’s trade value.

One team that could have interest in Vogelbach is the New York Mets. The Mets have not been shy about their desire to improve the DH position at the trade deadline, and for good reason. Met designated hitters rank 26th in baseball in wRC+ (82), 28th in slugging percentage (.322), and 29th in ISO (.105).

Vogelbach would be a massive upgrade in all of these areas for the Mets and their designate hitter position. He would likely also come at cheaper price than other potential DH trade targets the Mets could have such as C.J. Cron and Nelson Cruz.

When looking at a potential return for the Pittsburgh Pirates, something such as relievers Colin Holderman and Drew Smith could make sense. A big need for the Pirates the rest of this season, into 2023 and beyond is an improved bullpen. Swapping Vogelbach for Holderman and Smith would do just this.

It is far from a guarantee that the Pittsburgh Pirates will trade away their slugging designated hitter. Vogelbach’s contract includes just a $1.5 million club option for the 2023 season. Due to this, it’s very reasonable that the Pirates may determine they would rather have Vogelbach’s bat back in their lineup next season instead of trading him. Pirate brass also greatly values the knowledge and leadership Vogey has been able to provide for their young hitters.

That said, Vogelbach’s $1.5 million club option for 2023 could also add to his trade value. Any team interested in trading for Vogelbach would likely be able to sweeten the pot a bit more knowing that, if they so choose, they would also have Vogelbach under control for next as well.