3 bold mock trade proposals that would fix the Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfield

The Pirates need to fix their outfield, and the trade market should have some opportunities for them to do so, so let's look at some bold mock trade proposals.
Milwaukee Brewers v Houston Astros
Milwaukee Brewers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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Pirates convince Astros to sell from top-notch depth yet again

Pirates acquire

Astros acquire

Mauricio Dubon

Mitch Jebb, Garret Forrester, and Ryan Harbin

Jake Meyers isn’t the only short-term veteran on the Houston Astros’ roster. Someone who might have a greater chance of getting moved at the deadline is outfielder/infielder Mauricio Dubon. The utility man could solve the Pirates’ issues in the outfield, but also help provide depth on the infield.

Dubon has been about a league-average hitter the last two seasons. In 2024, he is slashing .284/.308/.398. Dubon rarely walks with a 3.1% BB%, but he avoids striking out like the plague with an 8.8% K%. Unfortunately, the tradeoff is he hits for very little power, with an isolated slugging percentage of just .111. Last year was the first year he’s ever reached double-digit home runs, and even then, he only hit 10. Overall, though, a 99 wRC+ is fine, especially given his defense.

Dubon is a sound defensive outfielder with +1 DRS and OAA. He has logged innings at all three outfield positions, but to call him an outfielder would be very disingenuous. Dubon has started at least one game at first, second, and third base, as well as shortstop. He’s displayed average to above-average defense at all four infield positions and rightfully won a Gold Glove last year for utility players.

If the Astros trade Dubon, a very good comparative trade package would be what the Pirates got for Adam Frazier at the 2021 trade deadline. Both are very similar players, being contact-oriented utility men. Overall, Dubon provides about average overall value, as did Frazier. Dubon has one more year of control remaining compared to when the Pirates traded Frazier, but he is also slightly older. 

Because of that, I have the Pirates trading three prospects, all of which are of similar caliber to what they got for Frazier. The first is Mitch Jebb. Jebb’s first extended look in pro ball hasn’t gone as smoothly as anticipated. He’s only batting .223/.325/.316 on the year with a .308 wOBA and 87 wRC+. Jebb is striking out at an uncharacteristic rate of 23.5%. He doesn’t project to hit for much power and has a sub-.100 isolated slugging percentage. On the plus side, his plus speed is playing well, as he’s swiped 20 bases already, and his plate discipline has looked good with a 12.5% BB%.

To Jebb’s credit, he has been hitting much better as of recently, cutting his K% down below 20% with a .797 OPS, .388 wOBA, and 137 wRC+ dating back to the start of June. This is more in line with what many were expecting with Jebb: lots of walks, a good BA, decent K%, and some steals. Jebb is a solid defensive middle infielder, but his speed gives him the chance to be a potential center field option if he has to move there.

The second player in this deal is Garret Forrester. The corner infielder/catcher was the Pirates’ third-round pick last year. Forrester has been injured since mid-May, but he was batting well up until that point with a .262/.421/.381 line, .396 wOBA, and 141 wRC+. Forrester drew walks at an elite 17.8% rate, but didn’t hit for much power in the 107 plate appearance sample size with a .119 isolated slugging percentage, striking out 26.2% of the time.

Although Forrester mostly played first base with the occasional game at the hot corner, he’s been used behind the plate by the Pirates this year. He has a strong enough arm to play both as a catcher and third baseman. There have been some growing pains behind the plate, but it is the first time he’s played the position regularly since at least high school. 

The last part of the package is Ryan Harbin. Harbin is a 22-year-old relief pitching prospect. He sits mid-90s with his sinker and gets his fair share of strikeouts. Plus, he keeps the ball on the ground quite frequently. However, Harbin also has command issues. This year, he has a 14.7% walk rate and, since getting to High-A ball last year, Harbin has a 14.2% BB%. 

Again, if he Astros trade Dubon, the package will probably look something like what the Pirates got for Frazier. This mock trade is a close equivalent of that 2021 package. Dubon would make a major impact on the Pirates’ roster. He could help the outfield, but he’ll also provide depth at pretty much every position other than catcher.

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