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. 2: Taylor Ward

Taylor Ward has solidified himself as an underrated outfielder in MLB. Although he's never been an elite hitter, he consistently provides above-average hitting with good defense in the outfield corners. 2024 has been yet another solid season for Ward, but he has the potential to produce much more offensively.

So far this year, Ward has been a very solid batter, slashing .244/.329/.444 with a .337 wOBA and 117 wRC+. He is walking at a career-high 11% rate, but has an unimpressive 23.4% K%. On the positive side, he is hitting for a good amount of pop. He's already matched his 2023 home run total of 14, but in 72 fewer plate appearances. His .198 isolated slugging percentage is currently a career-best mark.

These are some good numbers, but they could be even better. Ward is above the 90th percentile in expected wOBA at .374 and expected slugging percentage at .519. He's hitting the ball harder than he ever has before with a 91.1 MPH exit velocity, but he's also making quality contact on a consistent basis. His 15.5% barrel rate is the 13th best this season.

Ward consistently grades out as a good defender. This year, he has zero outs above average, but +5 defensive runs saved. Ward has spent his entire 2024 season in left field, but he also has over 1,500 innings in right field, and even over 100 in center field. He has a strong enough arm to play an outfield corner, as he's in the 70th percentile of arm strength.

The one red flag is that Ward isn't young. He's already 30, and will be 32 (heading into his age-33 season) when he hits free agency. However, this is about the only thing you can knock Ward for. He's consistently been both a good defender and hitter for the last three to four seasons. Ward is under control until 2026, giving him two more full seasons of control via arbitration. With all that in mind, Ward feels like a prime trade candidate for the Pirates.