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 Two
Seattle Mariners Pitchers

If I made a list that didn’t simply bunch the Seattle Mariners’ pitchers together as one unit, this would be a Mariners-only list. The M’s have one of, if not the deepest, starting pitching staff in MLB and at least the American League. Logan Gilbert, Luis Castillo, and George Kirby head their rotation, and it’s not out of the possibility that they land Blake Snell. Not to mention that they’ll see Robbie Ray return by early summer.

But the Mariners have a plethora of young and controllable starting pitching, and given Jerry Dipoto’s knack for trades, it would be almost impossible for the M’s to go the entire off-season without dealing at least some of their starting pitching to fix other holes on their current roster.

My favorite is Bryce Miller. The right-hander is coming off a solid rookie season where he pitched to a 4.32 ERA, 3.98 FIP, and 1.14 WHIP through 131.1 innings. While Miller’s 22.2% strikeout rate and 1.23 HR/9 were right around the MLB average, he only walked 4.8% of the batters he faced. Miller’s 4.58 K:BB ratio was the 14th best among pitchers with at least 120 frames last season. I went more in-depth with Miller in this article here.

Bryan Woo is another pitcher I’d be okay with the Pirates going after. Woo pitched 87.1 innings with a 4.21 ERA, 4.36 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP. The 23-year-old right-hander had a 25.1% K-rate and 8.4% walk rate but struggled with home runs with a 1.31 HR/9. But given he was above the 80th percentile of exit velocity hard-hit rate and was in the 77th percentile of barrel rate, I doubt he would post another season with a below-average HR/9.

Another pitcher to look into from the Mariners is Emerson Hancock. Hancock was the Mariners’ 2020 first-round pick and only pitched 12 big league innings in 2020. However, he had a respectable 4.38 ERA, 4.08 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP at Double-A. This includes a 26% K-rate, 9.2% walk rate, and 0.83 HR/9. Hancock has yet to pitch in Triple-A, going straight from the M’s AA affiliate in Arkansas straight to Seattle.

Finally, there’s veteran lefty Marco Gonzales. Gonzales was only limited to 50 innings last year. He didn’t pitch as badly as his 5.22 ERA, 4.28 FIP, and 1.46 WHIP suggest because he got bombed in only one of the ten starts he made before his season was cut short. However, from 2018 through 2022, Gonzales was both a durable and steady lefty, working to a 3.94 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP with a 17.7% K-rate, 5.9% walk rate, and 1.26 HR/9. Gonzales was just one of 13 pitchers in these five seasons to throw at least 750 innings and has two more years of control left. Like Miller, I have previously covered Gonzales as a potential trade target.

There are plenty of match-ups and potential trade ideas you can come up with between the Pirates and Mariners. Heck, why not consider a salary dump move involving Marco Gonzales or Robbie Ray, with the Pirates getting one of the young pitchers in return? It wouldn’t be the M’s first salary dump move of this off-season.