Pittsburgh Pirates: Which Team Would Make The Best Trade Partner?

Both the Marlins and Mariners make good trade patners for the Pirates, but which one is the better fit?

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox / Jim Rogash/GettyImages
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Miami Marlins

The Marlins seem to be listening to all their pitchers. The best of their starters is Jesus Luzardo. Luzaro is coming off a breakout 2023 season where he had a 3.58 ERA, 3.55 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP through 178.2 innings of work. Luzardo had an outstanding 28.1% strikeout rate to pair with a 7.4% walk rate. He was also above average at limiting home runs with a 1.11 HR/9. Luzardo definitely would not be cheap, as he is controlled via arbitration for three more seasons and is only going to be 26 for all of next season.

Luzardo wasn’t the only breakout lefty starting pitcher for the Marlins last season. Braxton Garrett also had a quality season, working to a 3.66 ERA, 3.68 FIP, and 1.16 WHIP in 159.2 innings. He didn’t have as robust of a strikeout rate as Luzardo did at 23.7%, and the two had nearly identical HR/9 rates as Garrett sat at 1.13. However, Garrett had a significantly lower 4.4% walk rate, the fifth lowest in baseball last season (min. 130 IP). Garrett would arguably be more expensive than Luzardo. Both had similar 2023 numbers and while Garrett is one year older, he has four years of control remaining.

Then there’s righty Edward Cabrera, my favorite of the bunch. Cabrera had a 4.24 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 1.44 WHIP in 99.2 innings. His walk rate was poor at 15.2%, but that’s about the end of the negatives among his peripherals. He had a 27.2% strikeout rate, 0.99 HR/9, and 54.3% ground ball rate. Cabrera had a great batted ball profile, holding opponents to just an 87.6 MPH exit velo, 35.4% hard-hit rate, and 6.9% barrel rate.

There is one buy-low option, and that’s Trevor Rogers. Rogers looked like he could become one of baseball’s best pitchers in 2021 when he had a 2.64 ERA, 2.55 FIP, and 1.15 WHIP in 133 innings during his rookie season. He was striking out a ton of batters with a 28.5% strikeout rate while having an outstanding 0.41 HR/9. On top of that, he was solid at limiting walks with an 8.4% Bwalk rate. Plus, he was above average in exit velocity (87.7 MPH), barrel rate (5%), and hard-hit rate (36.7%).

But since his astounding rookie campaign, Rogers has only pitched 125 innings with a 5.26 ERA, 4.32 FIP, and 1.46 WHIP. All of his peripherals have moved in the wrong direction, but he’s also missed a good amount of time because of injury. Still, 2024 will only be his age-26 season, and it wasn’t all that long ago he was considered a potential future ace.

Rogers is probably the easiest to pry from the Marlins right now. He can be a good pitcher, but they have a decent rotation with or without him. Cabrera would be my top target in a trade with the Marlins. Both Garrett and Luzardo would be great, but the price might be a bit too much right now.