Ranking 5 potential Pittsburgh Pirates outfield trade targets

The Pirates desperately need outfield help, and the outfield trade market should have some decent options. But who are the best and most likely trade targets the Pirates will go after?
Oakland Athletics v Arizona Diamondbacks
Oakland Athletics v Arizona Diamondbacks / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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No. 1: JJ Bleday

The Miami Marlins drafted JJ Bleday in the first round of the 2019 draft as the fourt overall pick. He was then traded to the Oakland Athletics in the 2022-2023 offseason, and while it's taken longer than expected, Bleday has finally found his footing and has broken out in a big way in 2024. Still, it's quite possible the A's look to move the outfielder, and if they are willing to trade him, he's someone the Pirates should have at the top of their list of players to pursue.

Bleday is batting .248/.331/.453 on the season with a .340 wOBA and 126 wRC+. He has been one of the best hitting center fielders in baseball, ranking third in OPS and wOBA, and tied with Jarren Duran from the Boston Red Sox for the second best wRC+ among primary center fielders. Bleday is walking at a healthy 10.7% rate, but more impressively, he's cut his K% down to 18.8%. Bleday struck out just over a quarter of the time in 2022-2023 with the Marlins and A's, so this is a big development for him.

Bleday has done everything right with the bat. He has an above-average exit velocity (89.3 MPH), barrel rate (8.5%), and expected weighted on-base average (.341) with a chase rate in the 80th percentile. The only notable statistic that he's below average in is whiff rate at 25%, but even then, he's still in the 46th percentile.

Bleday projected more like a corner outfielder in the minor leagues, but he's held his own in center field. Defensive runs saved haven't been too kind at -4, though his outs above average are slightly better at -1. Bleday is a slightly above-average runner with a strong arm, so a move to left or right field isn't out of the question, but he's shown he can at least handle center field.

Another major positive is that Bleday is under control for a while. He's still a whole season away from even reaching arbitration. Bleday is young and is only in his age-26 campaign, so he'd be a long-term option if this is someone the Pirates are able to go after.

Bleday is not nearly as proven as many of the other hitters on today's list. This is the first time he's done well in an extended period in the major leagues. Granted, it is only the second time he's played in at least half the season, and to his credit, he's done well.

So what would it take to get Bleday? Well, according to Noah Hiles, it might be less than what we're expecting. Andrew Filliponi made a mock trade that would send Jack Suwinski and Liover Peguero to Oakland for Bleday. Hiles stated while no trade was proposed, he did say this, in his estimation, is the sort of return that Bleday would go for at the deadline this year. If that's true, then Bleday would be a bargain.

Bleday is a great hitter and a solid defensive center fielder. He has been under control for quite a while, and the price might not be as high as we're expecting. To me, those factors make him the best trade target the Pirates should pursue.