Three change of scenery trade candidates for Roansy Contreras

If the Pirates opt to look for a change of scenery swap for Roansy Contreras, who should they look into?
Apr 5, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Roansy Contreras (59)
Apr 5, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Alek Thomas

Like Contreras, Alek Thomas was once a consensus top-100 prospect across baseball. But while his speed and defense have translated well into the Majors, Thomas' bat has yet to come around. He's given the D-Backs Gold Glove a caliber glove, but his mediocre hitting, combined with a truckload of up-and-coming outfield talent in the D-Backs' system, would make him a good change of scenery candidate to pair in a Contreras trade.

Thomas has 827 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, where he has batted just .230/.273/.362. While Thomas has only struck out 19.7% of the time, he's also rarely walked with a 5% BB%. Power also hasn't been a strong suit, with just 18 homers and a .131 isolated slugging percentage. All told, Thomas has a .276 wOBA and 72 wRC+. Thomas ranks bottom three in wOBA, OPS, and wRC+ and bottom ten in ISO among primary CFs since 2022, with at least 800 plate appearances.

The raw power hasn't played as many expected either. He has an 88.2 MPH exit velocity and 38% hard hit rate throughout his career. Neither are above average. Even if they were above average, he couldn't take advantage of his raw power to the fullest as he has a 2.3 degree launch angle and a 57.1% ground ball rate.

But Thomas is a great defender, and that's something the Pirates very much need right now. Through 1857.1 innings, Thomas has +11 defensive runs saved, outs above average, and +4.8 UZR/150. He's also displayed an above-average arm and plus to plus-plus speed on the base paths and in the field. The Pirates' outfield has struggled defensively, and having someone like this on the team who can sub-in late into games would be nice.

Thomas could soon get pushed out of the Diamondbacks' outfield. The Snakes have a multitude of young outfielders in their system, including former first-round pick Druw Jones, as well as Jack Hurley, Jorge Barrosa, and Kristian Robinson. They're all just as good of fielders as Thomas, but he has set an extremely low bar offensively. Thomas had an injury list stint earlier this year and missed a few weeks, but the D-Backs might leave him at Triple-A right now, given that Jake McCarthy is doing great, with Randal Grichuk also off to a solid start.

The Diamondbacks also need some pitching help. Starting pitchers Merrill Kelly and Ryne Nelson are on the injured list. So are Paul Sewald, Kyle Nelson, and Miguel Castro. Their pitching depth has definitely taken a hit to start the year, especially to some key pitchers like Sewald and Kelly, both of whom played massive roles in their NL Pennant run.

The Pirates could definitely use a defensive outfielder, while the D-Backs need some pitching. 

Both Contreras and Thomas are still young and were considered top prospects not all that long ago. Both have struggled badly the last two seasons as well. The only thing that massively separates them right now is that Thomas has options remaining.