3 trade targets that would put the Pittsburgh Pirates over the top

The Pittsburgh Pirates could put themselves over the top and be true contenders with these three trade targets.
Aug 16, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Gavin Sheets (32) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 16, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Gavin Sheets (32) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to start making some noise on the trade market. It’s now June, and the buzz is starting to simmer. Their system has more than enough pitching that they could add some serious additions to the Major League roster and still have enough talented arms to potentially build a second future rotation. They have the prospect capital necessary to get whoever they wanted on the trade market, and now is the time to make some noise with some trades. 

Even though the Pirates’ lineup is starting to heat up, it could still use at least one more reinforcement. This is especially true at first base, but they could also greatly benefit from adding another outfielder.

Their bullpen could also use some serious help. It’s been the most disappointing part of the team so far this year. In the interest of patching holes before they grow too large, these are three players the Pittsburgh Pirates should put a heavy focus on.

They could all be on the trade market and would significantly improve the three biggest issues plaguing the Pirates: first base, relief pitching, and outfield. These solutions might even be enough to put them over the top.

3 Pittsburgh Pirates trade solutions that could put roster over the top

Bullpen: Hunter Harvey

The Pirates need relief pitching in the worst way, and Hunter Harvey, who has been one of the most underrated relievers for the last three seasons for the Washington Nationals, might be available in trade talks. If he is, this is a massive opportunity the Pirates should take advantage of and add a much-needed anchor to a struggling bullpen.

Harvey has been lights out at the back of the Nats’ bullpen. He owns a 2.15 ERA, 2.06 FIP, and 0.92 WHIP in 29.1 innings of work. He’s one of just 15 relievers this year with both an ERA and FIP below 2.50 and WHIP below 1.00. Harvey has gotten a ton of Ks with a 29.8% K%, but rarely hands out free passes and has just a 5.3% BB%. On top of that, he’s allowed a single home run.

While Harvey gets a lot of swings and misses, as he is in the 75th percentile of whiff rate, he does get hit hard on the occasions batters make contact. He’s in just the 18th percentile of exit velo (90.3 MPH) and the 6th percentile of hard-hit rate (48.6%). But what he does exceptionally well is limit quality contact. Despite giving up a decent amount of hard-hit batted balls, he’s in the 86th percentile of barrel rate at 4.2%.

Harvey would be exactly what the Pirates’ bullpen needs: another shutdown reliever. Another positive is that Harvey is not a rental. He is controlled through the 2025 season. It might not be cheap to acquire Harvey, but he’s someone that, if he becomes available in trade talks, is a reliever the Pirates need to jump on.