The Pittsburgh Pirates should have sold high on Wil Crowe last season. It is easy to say now, no one expected him to go from one of the more dominant relievers in the National League to struggling to have successful outings. But, here we are.
One thing that made the previous regime successful was their ability to sell high on relief pitching. It seemed like every year the Bucs had one of the best bullpens in the National League despite not spending much financially into it. That was because the Front Office was not afraid to sell high on their relief pitchers.
Relief pitchers are volatile. Many of them are in the bullpen for a reason, struggling to command their pitches consistently. Eventually for most relievers they get caught up to, their two pitch pitchers and eventually opposing hitters figure them out. Also, throw in some injuries and that can of course expedite the downward trajectory of a relief pitcher.
The Bucs missed the boat last year. The previous regime had such success dealing away their top-end reliever, but they also knew when to. The team sold high on Joel Hanrahan and brought in Mark Melancon along with 3 other prospects. The move was heavily criticized at the time but worked out as Melancon would go on to be the team's closer for years to come. Hanrahan would only throw 7.1 innings for the Red Sox before an injury forced him into retirement.