Pittsburgh Pirates: Re-Analyzing Top Pitching Trade Targets

With new rumors and transactions since our last top Pirates starting pitching trade targets article was released, let's re-analyze who should be their top targets now in late-November.
Sep 11, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20)
Sep 11, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20) / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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Number Five
Tyler Glasnow

If you told a Pirates fan in 2017 that Mitch Keller and Tyler Glasnow were key components of the team’s rotation in 2023, they’d probably be ecstatic. While the journey to get to that point would be a little more complicated than expected, Glasnow could make his way back to Pittsburgh as the Rays will almost certainly move the right-hander.

Last year, Glasnow pitched 120 innings, working to a quality 3.58 ERA, 2.91 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP. The right-hander struck out just over a third of the opponents he faced with a 33.4% K-rate, with a 7.6% walk rate, and a 0.98 HR/9.

The former Pirates’ prospect posted the best ground ball rate of his career at 51.2%, although he did struggle to limit hard contact. Opponents had a 90.4 MPH exit velocity, 44.6% hard-hit rate, and 11.6% barrel rate against him. All three stats were in the 15th percentile or worse.

Glasnow isn’t higher because of his history of durability, or lack thereof. His 120 innings pitched this year is a career-high. 2023 is the first time he’s ever made more than 15 starts in any season. Plus, he’s only controlled for one more year. But Glasnow is the definition of “When he’s healthy, he’s elite.” Plus, he is one of the most likely trade candidates to get moved this off-season, according to Jon Heyman.

Glasnow may come cheap in terms of the amount of prospects that a team would need to give up as well. If a team is willing to eat the $25 million he is owed for 2024, then the Rays may not ask for the cream of the crop of prospects. But $25 million is not a light sum for someone who has pitched 100+ innings only twice and has never pitched more than 120 innings in any year, who is going into their age-30 season. Still, 120 innings from Glasnow is better than 150 innings from a lot of pitchers.