Pittsburgh Pirates Should Go All-In On Edward Cabrera Now

If the Pirates want to acquire an impact starting pitcher, they should go all-in on acquiring Marlins' right-hander Edward Cabrera.

Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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If the Pittsburgh Pirates want to acquire an impact starting pitcher, they should go all-in on acquiring Marlin righty Edward Cabrera

The Pittsburgh Pirates really need another starting pitcher. If they can acquire at least one more, I will be content with their off-season. It’s still an issue as we head into the home stretch of the off-season. But if there’s one trade candidate they should go all-in on, it’s the Miami Marlins’ right-hander Edward Cabrera, and now that we’re about a month away from the start of Spring Training games, now is the time to make a serious trade.

On paper, the Pirates and the Marlins lineup like jigsaw puzzle pieces. The Marlins are open to moving Cabrera and need middle infielders and possibly a good righty relief pitcher. The Pirates need a starting pitcher and have middle infielders and relievers to trade. A deal between the Bucs and Marlins makes too much sense.

At this point, I am on the Edward Cabrera or bust train. So why obsess over Cabrera? The hard-throwing right-hander had a very solid age-25 season. In 99.2 innings, Cabrera owned a 4.24 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 1.44 WHIP. A pitcher who could probably be best described as “effectively wild”, Cabrera had an above average ERA despite having a 15.2% walk rate. But he was able to combat that with a strong 27.2% strikeout rate and 0.99 HR/9.

Cabrera was good at limiting hard contact as well. Opponents managed just an 87.6 MPH exit velocity, 35.4% hard hit rate, and 6.9% barrel rate against him last year. With a 54.3% ground ball rate, his GB% was the 7th highest among all pitchers with 90+ frames last season. Opponents had a .355 slugging percentage against him, but that could go down next year given his .330 xSLG%.

Not only is Cabrera a solid pitcher, but he’s under control for five more seasons. He still has two more pre-arb seasons left, then heads into arbitration in 2026 through 2028. If the Pirates acquired Cabrera, they’d have him for a decent amount of time. He could anchor the rotation for the next five years.

I could also see the Pirates including one of their multiple relief pitchers, along with a middle infielder like Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, or even Jared Triolo in a deal involving Cabrera heading to Pittsburgh. The Marlins have a handful of very good lefty relievers. A.J. Puk, Tanner Scott, and Andrew Nardi could all get save opportunities next year. Their best right-handed reliever, however, is Huscar Brazoban, a reliever who is entering his age-34 season and had a 4.14 ERA, 3.94 FIP, and 1.43 WHIP. 

I am on the Cabrera or bust train at this point. The Pirates need another starter, the Marlins need middle infield help and could definitely use another right-handed reliever. The Pirates have an abundance of middle infielders and relief pitchers. The Marlins are willing to move Cabrera too. I’d say there’s a chance a trade gets done between these two teams. Cherington, please just make the call and offer something serious.

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