The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins could make good trade partners this off-season as both teams could help solve issues for each other with a potential trade
The Pittsburgh Pirates will go into the 2023-2024 off-season with some questions to address regarding their starting pitching. For the last 60+ games of the year, they basically used Mitch Keller, Johan Oviedo, and a bunch of openers, long relievers, and bulk men to get the job done. While it worked for the most part, and the Pirates played about .500 ball, this probably isn’t a very sound strategy for the long run.
The Pirates do have a handful of potential long-term starting pitching options. By the end of the 2024 season, they could have a rotation featuring Paul Skenes, Jared Jones, Anthony Solometo, Keller, and Oviedo. Other options include Quinn Priester, Roansy Contreras, and Luis Ortiz, with Mike Burrows and JT Brubaker likely set to return in the second half of the season. Plus, Thomas Harrington and Bubba Chandler could very well make their debuts sometime during the second half of the season.
Even though the Pirates have plenty of starting pitching talent in the system, they still should figure out something this off-season to get more stability in the rotation to open the 2024 season. Again, as of right now, it would be Keller and Oviedo, with many others competing for the final rotation spots. But one potential trade partner is the Miami Marlins.
So why the Marlins? In mid-September, it was reported that one of the things the team wanted to try and resolve this off-season was their woes at shortstop. Even though the Marlins snuck into the playoffs with the final Wild Card spot, their shortstops were not responsible for their success.
As a collective unit, the Marlins’ shortstops batted a poor .264/.315/.367 with a .298 wOBA, and 85 wRC+. Defense at shortstop was generally well received, with +11 defensive runs saved and only -2 outs above average.
The next question you may ask is, why the Pirates? Well, first look at the Pirate middle infield options for 2024. Oneil Cruz will have shortstop on lockdown, but many of the other second base options have experience at short. The likes of Liover Peguero, Nick Gonzales, Alika Williams, and Tucupita Marcano, as well as top prospects like Termarr Johnson, Jack Brannigan, Tsung-Che Cheng, and Mitch Jebb, have experience at shortstop.
Also, the free agent market is basically devoid of any good shortstops. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Amed Rosario is the best option at shortstop in free agency, who is coming off a season with a sub-.700 OPS and the worst defensive remarks at shortstop in his career. Basically, if any team wants a shortstop, they’ll have to pursue the trade market.
The Marlins also have pitching depth to trade from. One kind of deal I could see the Pirates making with the Marlins is a young player for young player kind of swap. Rebound candidates like Edward Cabrera and Max Meyer will likely be players the Marlins would be willing to trade from. One could see either Cabrera or Meyer being sent the Pirates way in exchange for one of Peguero, Gonzales, Marcano, or Williams.
As bold and unlikely as it would be, it would be interesting to see both teams just give in to each team’s needs. What if the Pirates and Marlins swapped Termarr Johnson and Alika Williams for Eury Perez? The Marlins would get both an immediate fix at the position, as well as a potential long-term option, while the Pirates get the young starting pitcher with years of control remaining they need. Again, that’s highly (and I mean highly unlikely), as I highly doubt the Marlins want to part with a potential future ace, and the Pirates probably don’t want to part with a potential long-term fixture in their line-up. However, it is just an idea I wanted to throw out, even if it was a complete fantasy.
One pitcher whom the Marlins will listen to offers on is Trevor Rogers. After pitching 133 strong innings in 2021 that resulted in a 2.64 ERA, 2.55 FIP, a 1.15 WHIP, an All-Star appearance, and runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting, Rogers has pitched just 125 innings over the last two years with a 5.27 ERA, 4.32 FIP, and 1.46 WHIP.
The Marlins would definitely be selling low on the right-hander, which is one reason why they might hold onto him for now. But in the event they do decide to sell low on Rogers to get some middle infield help, I could definitely see the Pirates at least kicking the tires on Rogers.
I think there are multiple ways you could line up a Pirates/Marlins trade where the Bucs walk away with a young but MLB-ready starter, and the Fish come away with a potential shortstop option for 2024 and beyond. We will see how both teams approach the upcoming off-season, though I believe that it wouldn’t be all that surprising if both the Pirates and Marlins converged on a trade.