Pirates trade RHP JT Brubaker to the New York Yankees for a PTBNL

The Pittsburgh Pirates are sending right-handed starter JT Brubaker to the NY Yankees for a PTBNL.

Sep 15, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker pitches
Sep 15, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker pitches / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade with the New York Yankees that will send right-handed pitcher JT Brubaker as well as international bonus money to the Bronx in exchange for a player to be named later. Brubaker is currently on the injured list recovering from Tommy John surgery which he underwent last March. Alex Stumpf of MLB.com announced the news on X/Twitter:

Brubaker made his debut with the Pirates during the shortened 2020 season. The right-hander entered the season as the Pirates’ 25th-best prospect per FanGraphs, as well as their 21st-ranked prospect by Baseball America. Since making his debut, Brubaker has tossed 315.2 innings in 63 games and 61 starts, working to a 4.99 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 1.38 WHIP.

Brubaker carries a solid 23.3 percent strikeout rate and 7.8 percent walk rate but has consistently struggled with limiting home runs and hard contact. He has a 1.45 HR/9 rate, the 22nd-highest among any pitcher with at least 300 IP since 2020. Brubaker also carries an unimpressive 89 MPH exit velocity and 8.1 percent barrel rate. 

The right-hander did show some improvement in 2022. From April 19 through Sept. 4, a span of 23 starts and 125 innings, Brubaker had a 4.03 ERA, 3.58 FIP, and 1.38 WHIP. His 23.7 percent strikeout rate and 7.7 percent walk rate both fell in line with his career averages, but he had an above-average 0.94 HR/9 rate. He also had an improved 7.3 percent barrel rate throughout this stretch.

Brubaker was projected to be a member of the Pirates’ starting rotation in 2023, but underwent Tommy John surgery in April. He has been on the injured list since, but was slated to return around mid-season 2024, assuming there were no setbacks in his recovery. 

It’s fair to question what Brubaker would have been at this point. He’s going to miss upwards of a year and a half and is already 30 years old. He’s had flashes of potential in the past, but has been an inconsistent arm for the Pirates. Assuming Brubaker returns when he’s expected to, the Pirates are trading the right-hander away with one and a half years of control remaining.