Pittsburgh Pirates: A Trade Proposal With The Houston Astros

Could this one-for-one trade proposal between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros benefit both teams?
Aug 5, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jason Delay (55) hits a two RBI
Aug 5, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jason Delay (55) hits a two RBI / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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Let's look at a trade proposal that involves the Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jason Delay and Houston Astros outfielder Jake Meyers

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently signed catcher Ali Sánchez to a Major League deal. This causes a logjam in their catching depth. Sure, catching is the most physically demanding position on the diamond, and it’s always nice to have a plan C or D at the position, but the Pirates now have four catchers on their 40-man roster.

Two are young talents who entered the 2023 season as two of baseball’s best prospects, Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis. While some have speculated a Davis or Rodriguez trade for some pitching, I think Jason Delay should be the one on the block.

Jason Delay is pretty much what you’d expect from your backup catcher. He didn’t provide much offensive value, batting just .251/.319/.347 with a .296 wOBA and 83 wRC+. His 7.5% walk rate and 25.5% strikeout rate were below average, but massive improvements from 2022, when he had a 5.4% BB% and 29.9% strikeout rate in the majors.

He’s a sound defender behind the plate, having +2 defensive runs saved and +8.4 framing runs in 484 innings caught. He also didn’t allow a passed ball, and while he only had an 11% caught-stealing rate, he was significantly better in 2022.

Plus I think you should give him a pass for all the new rules implemented in 2023. It might take a season or two for some catchers to adapt to wider bases, and it's arguably more on the pitcher now more than ever to prevent stolen bases or give the catcher a fighting chance to catch would-be base stealers, with the pitch clock and new pickoff rules.

So, who needs some solid catching depth or a second-string backstop as of right now? MLB Trade Rumors recently reported that five different teams, including the Houston Astros, LA Angels, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, and Miami Marlins, have interest in veteran backstop Martin Maldonado, who is nearly ten years older than Delay and had a significantly worse season with the glove behind the dish. Of those five teams, I think the Astros would be the best fit as a trade partner, and here’s why.

The Astros have had one outfielder, Jake Meyers, who has been involved in trade talks recently, and I think that the two sides could work out a deal where the Pirates get Meyers and the Astros get Delay. Meyers produced very similarly with the bat last year compared to Delay. He hit .227/.296/.382 with an identical .297 wOBA, with a comparable 88 wRC+ (only 6% better than Delay). Two more stats that Meyers nearly matched Delay in are walk rate (7.6%) and strikeout rate (25.8%).

Like Delay, Meyers’ biggest strength is his fielding. Meyers racked up +5 defensive runs saved and +9 outs above average, mostly from center field. Meyers does not have a cannon for an arm but was still in the 58th percentile of throw velocity at 86 MPH. However, he is a rangy outfielder and was in the 92nd percentile of sprint speed at 29.2 feet/second.

Production with the bat and being glove-first players aren’t the only similarities these two share. They are about the same age, as Delay is only one year older than Meyers. Meyers does have one more year of control than Delay, but both hit free agency after their age-31 season.

This is not a blockbuster trade. Think of it as an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” kind of deal. It adds some depth in two areas each team needs: the Pirates need some outfield depth and clear out the catching logjam if Henry Davis is going to catch more frequently in 2024. The Astros need a solid second-string catcher to complement Yanier Diaz and replace Martin Maldonado, and Delay is just that.


We'll see if the Pirates make a move but either way, you can claim an INSTANT $200 bonus from BetMGM right now! Sign up and bet $10 or more on any game today to immediately receive $200 in bonus bets. Sign up for BetMGM today!

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