Pittsburgh Pirates: Two Pitchers to Pursue, Two to Avoid in Second Half of the Off-Season

The Pirates should consider pursing these two players, but avoid these other two.

Aug 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sean Manaea (52)
Aug 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sean Manaea (52) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Player To Go After In Trade - Edward Cabrera

Edward Cabrera is my top trade target as of right now. The young right-hander has been subject to a handful of different trade rumors. With the Marlins needing a middle infielder, the Pirates having a handful of young middle infielders, and the Pirates also needing a pitcher, the two teams seem like good trade partners, at least on paper.

Cabrera worked to a solid 4.24 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 1.44 WHIP. He is an effectively wild pitcher. 15.2% of the batters he faced drew ball four. But 27.2% also struck out against him, and he held them to an 87.6 MPH exit velocity, 6.9% barrel rate, and 35% hard-hit rate. All three were well above average, with both his hard-hit rate and exit velocity being in the 75th percentile or better.

Now, you wouldn't be judged for being worried about the walk rate. Since the turn of the millennium, there have only been four instances of a pitcher throwing at least 90 innings with an ERA+ of 100 or greater (average or better) and a walk rate of 15% or higher. But in Cabrera's defense, he does a lot of things right, such as striking out batters and preventing hard contact, he had a much more manageable 11.3% walk rate in 71.2 innings in 2022, and his walk rate at Triple-A was 12%.

Cabrera probably won't be cheap for multiple reasons. He's still young, as next year will only be his age-26 campaign. Cabrera is under control through the 2028 season as well, so he has five more full seasons of control remaining. But if the Pirates went in heavily in on one player, it would be Cabrera.