Pirates could capitalize on latest Orioles injury with this trade proposal

The Orioles have recently lost two pitchers to elbow issues, which leaves a gap in their pitching staff. This trade proposal will help the Orioles with pitching depth and help the Pirates replace Rowdy Tellez.
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The Baltimore Orioles recently lost John Means and Tyler Wells to UCL related injuries. They will both undergo surgery to repair damage to the ligament in their elbows. Losing these two arms hurts the Orioles pitching staff, which leads them to needing to find replacements. Recently, they acquired Thyago Vieira from the Milwaukee Brewers, but he is a below average reliever that is not resolving Means' spot in the rotation.

One alternative for Means is Quinn Priester, from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Priester is a 23 year old right-handed pitcher who has bounced between the MLB and minor leagues this season. He is young and has many years of control left on his contract. If Means gets Tommy John surgery, he may miss the entire 2025 season, so getting a guy like Priester could benefit Baltimore as a cheap option.

This season in the MLB, Priester has an 0-4 record with a 4.33 ERA in 27 innings pitched and has struck out 17 batters. He also has an opposing batting average of .274 and a WHIP of 1.52. In Triple-A, Priester has a 2-1 record with an earned run average of 3.28 in 24.2 IP and has struck out 29 batters. Opponents are batting .226 against him and he has a WHIP of 1.14.

He has struggled with allowing too many baserunners at the major league level this season, but he has shown improvement from his rookie season. This improvement is at both the major league level and the minor league level. The major league rotation appears to be set with Mitch Keller, Paul Skenes, Jared Jones, and Bailey Falter. Martín Pérez and Marco Gonzales are both injured, but still remain a part of the rotation.

In this trade scenario, the Pirates are looking to acquire left handed first baseman, Ryan O'Hearn

The Pirates need to go after Ryan O'Hearn, especially in this deal. O'Hearn plays first base and is left handed, which is perfect for how the first base situation in Pittsburgh is set up. They are currently running a platoon between Connor Joe and Rowdy Tellez. This platoon is the right idea with Joe, who is significantly better against left-handed pitching and performs better when he is not playing every day. Tellez, on the other hand, is not playing well and that is making the platoon unsuccessful. Tellez has been one of the worst hitters in all of baseball and he is nearing the end with the Pirates.

Joe must be utilized as a platoon first baseman against left handed pitching. Although he has not been bad against right handers, he's been much better against southpaws. This season against left handers, Joe has a .303 batting average with three home runs and 11 RBI. He also has an OPS of .891, which includes an OBP of .365 and a slugging percentage of .526. His wRC+ is at 148 and his strikeout percentage is at 15.3%.

Against right handers, Joe has a batting average of .266 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in. He also has an OPS of .748, which includes an OBP of .344 and slugging percentage of .404. His wRC+ is at 116 and his strikeout percentage is at 20.5%.

Clearly, Joe is much more productive against left handers. Getting a first baseman like O'Hearn would benefit the Pirates greatly as he is a solid hitter and has a club option for the 2025 season, so this platoon would last more than just this season. O'Hearn currently platoons with Ryan Mountcastle and it has worked out great for the Orioles this season.

This season, O'Hearn has played mostly against right handed pitching and is hitless through nine at-bats against left handers. Against righties, O'Hearn has a batting average of .281 with seven home runs and 18 runs batted in. He also has an OPS of .821, which includes an OBP of .346 and a slugging percentage of .475. His wRC+ is at 134 and his strikeout percentage is at 11.1%.

These numbers against right handers are very impressive and will fit in greatly with Joe. Statcast metrics show that O'Hearn is a better hit than stats suggest. His expected batting average is at .297, which is in the 93rd percentile and his expected slugging percentage is at .550, which is in the 95th percentile. He is also in the 98th percentile for strikeout percentage.

O'Hearn's value seems to be high, so the Pirates would have to send another piece in this trade. In this proposal, the Pirates would send 13th ranked prospect, Hunter Barco, along with Priester. This season, Barco has a 2-1 record with a 2.55 earned run average in 42.1 IP and has struck out 51 batters. Opposing batters are hitting just .209 against Barco and his WHIP is great, at 1.06.

Pirates/Orioles trade

This deal could help both the Pirates and the Orioles. The final product of this deal is right handed pitcher Quinn Priester and left handed pitcher Hunter Barco in exchange for left handed first base man Ryan O'Hearn.