If the Pittsburgh Pirates trade Bryan Reynolds before the start of the season the Los Angeles Dodgers could make sense as trade partners
As the calendar prepares to flip from 2022 to 2023 the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to be in a tough spot with star center fielder Bryan Reynolds. Earlier this month Reynolds requested a trade, but the Pirates continue to be adamant that they do not intend to trade Reynolds.
That said, when a player with three years of team control requests a trade that is a difficult relationship to attempt to salvage. Especially when the request came after talks about a contract extension between the two sides broke down.
As of now, Reynolds is still projected to be in the Pirate Opening Day lineup, but that could easily change. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Friday that the Pirates would like starting pitching to headline any Reynolds trade.
One team that could use another outfielder bat and has plenty of young starting pitching to part with is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are also seemingly always in on the top available players on both the free agent and trade markets. All of this could lead to the Dodgers becoming great trade partners with the Pirates.
Headlining the trade would be right-handed pitchers Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot. According to MLB Pipeline, these two rank as the 2nd and 6th best prospects in a deep, talented Dodger farm system.
Miller is 23-years-old and reached the Triple-A level late last seoasn. In four Triple-A starts, Miller posted a 3.38 ERA and a 4.65 FIP. Between the Double-A and Triple-A levels he pitched 112.1 innings in 24 outings, 23 of which were starts. While his ERA was 4.25, he allowed just 12 home runs, walked 7.9% of batters faced, struck out a healthy 30.9%, and posted a 3.68 FIP.
As for Pepiot, the 25-year-old could potentially be inserted straight into the Pirate starting rotation. Pepiot pitched in nine games for the Dodgers last season, with seven being starts. In 36.1 MLB innings pitched, Pepiot posted a 3.47 ERA and a 26.3% strikeout rate.
Both Miller and Pepiot would immediately become top 5 pitching prospects in the Pirate farm system. Additionally, both could be in the Pirate starting rotation by the end of the 2023 season. A rotation of Miller, Pepiot, Roansy Contreras, Mitch Keller, and Quinn Priester come September could be very strong, and that goes without mentioning Johan Oviedo, Mike Burrows, and Luis Ortiz.
A third right-handed pitching prospect the Pirates could target is Landon Knack. The 24-year-old made 17 starts at Double-A last season, posting a 5.01 ERA and a 4.24 FIP in 64.2 innings pitched. Despite the poor results, Knack owns a plus fastball, curveball, and changeup. He also struck out a healthy 28.4% of batters faced last seaosn. The stuff is there for Knack to be a quality MLB starting pitcher. He could also be in position to join the Pirate roster at some point in 2023.
Joining the three pitching prospects would be outfield prospect Andy Pages. The 22-year-old Pages is the top outfield prospect in the Dodger system. While he would start the 2023 system in the minor leagues, he would become the long-term replacement for Reynolds.
Pages spent the entire 2022 season at the Double-A level. In 571 plate appearances at Double-A he hit for a .236/.336/.468 slash line with a very healthy .232 isolated slugging (ISO). While his 24.5% strikeout rate is higher than you would like to see, he also posted a strong 10.9% walk rate. He also slugged 26 home runs while posting a strong 11.1% extra base hit rate.
Two things the Pirate farm system lacks is true power hitters and right-handed hitting outfielders. Pages would check both of these boxes for the Bucs, and could be a mainstay in their outfield by the end of the 2023 season.