First Pitch: Which Prospects Could the Pirates Afford to Trade This Summer?

The MLB draft is coming up next week, and we’ve got a lot of draft preview coverage coming this weekend. But before that happens, I want to take a look at the guys currently in the system, specifically with a view to the next big event after the draft — the trade deadline. The Pirates will most likely be buyers this year, although last year showed that this doesn’t necessarily mean they will be buying. That said, they certainly have a strong farm system, which combined with a strong MLB team for the long-term means that they’ve got prospects they can trade. Here is a rundown of who they could afford to lose, who they should probably keep, and the group that provides the biggest strength to trade from.

Prospects of the Future

No team can ever fully rely on one prospect for one position. That’s a foolish approach that ignores the reality that prospects are far from guarantees to reach their upside. At the same time, the other reality here is that small market teams have to build around a prospect core, and always need a guy waiting in the wings to take over at a position. In short, small market teams need to rely on “prospects of the future” at certain positions, although it would be best if they had a backup plan in the event that those prospects don’t work out.

You could probably imagine scenarios for most prospects where they take over future starting roles. But for this category, I only focused on guys who seem to be the clear best at their position. These are guys I wouldn’t trade, and I explain each situation below.

Tyler Glasnow/Jameson Taillon – Pitching is expensive, especially top of the rotation starters. Pitchers aren’t guarantees either, especially when they are prospects. But a team like the Pirates needs to roll the dice and hope that things work out for the best. It already looks like they’re getting a top of the rotation guy with Gerrit Cole. If just one of Glasnow or Taillon reaches their upside, they will have the makings of one of the best 1-2 combos in baseball for several years.

Josh Bell – Pedro Alvarez is under team control through the 2016 season. If you’re in the camp that prefers Neil Walker at the position, then that doesn’t solve much, since he’s also under control through 2016. The only standout prospect in the upper levels of the minors is Bell. He’s a fantastic hitter who hasn’t seen a power breakout yet, but has the potential for over-the-fence power. He is new to the position this year, and will need to improve his defense. Bell could be an impact hitter, and the Pirates can’t afford to trade those types of players at a position where they have no long-term answer.

Elias Diaz/Reese McGuire – Francisco Cervelli has been a fantastic find this year, but even if you buy that he’s legit and won’t see injury problems going forward, there’s still the issue that he’s only under team control through the 2016 season. Plus, when you factor in the injury problems, then it becomes likely that the Pirates will need a catcher soon. That would be Elias Diaz in the short-term. In the long-term, Reese McGuire has the best defense in the system, and some untapped offensive potential. It’s hard to get a good starting catcher, and the Pirates aren’t in a position yet to deal either of these guys.

2015 MLB Depth – Guys like Casey Sadler and Adrian Sampson aren’t “untouchable”, but it might not make sense to deal them this year, when they could provide help during this season if a few injuries occur. So while I’ll get to the rest of the pitchers in a moment, I wanted to point out that it probably doesn’t make sense to deal these two, since they can currently help the MLB team in tough times.

Future Starters, But Other Options

The next group looks at guys who have a good chance of starting in the majors in the future, with some of them being above-average or star players at their position. The only problem is that the Pirates have other options for that position (maybe “problem” isn’t the right word), meaning that the player could be expendable, depending on which direction the Pirates turn.

Austin Meadows – It’s hard to pinpoint his future role with the team, as the current outfield seems set for several years, and finding a spot for Meadows requires a tough decision on the future of Andrew McCutchen. If Meadows goes a level per year, then he could be ready for the majors in 2018, which is the final year of McCutchen’s contract. Or, the Pirates could opt to trade him, gamble that McCutchen won’t see a drop off and might sign an extension, or just hope that one of the other outfield prospects emerges by then.

Harold Ramirez/Other Outfielders – On that same note, if the Pirates keep Meadows as their future outfield replacement, then it definitely makes other outfielders expendable. Harold Ramirez would probably get the biggest return of this group.

Alen Hanson/Max Moroff – The Pirates have some options at second base, even after Neil Walker is gone. They could go with Jung-ho Kang, although that would require better offensive performance from Jordy Mercer. If they go the prospect route, they’ve now got two upper level choices in Alen Hanson and Max Moroff. They could afford to deal one of them, especially if they believe in Mercer, or see the potential for a lower level guy like JaCoby Jones or Cole Tucker to take a middle infield spot sooner than later.

Everyone Else – I could go on listing every single player in the system, but the fact is that if you’re not on the first list, you’re going to end up on this list. The guys mentioned above have the best trade value of the expandable players in the system, You could break down the rest of the system into groups. There are guys like Nick Kingham and Brandon Cumpton who have very little value right now due to their Tommy John surgeries. You’ve got guys like Cole Tucker and Mitch Keller, who are long-term options that might add value in the future. Trading them now might be selling low. There are lefty pitchers like Stephen Tarpley, or third base prospects like Wyatt Mathisen — two positions where the Pirates are thin in their system. Although I don’t think the Pirates would make those types off-limits. That said, there is one group that is more expendable than the rest…

Right Handed Pitchers

The Pirates have loaded up on pitchers in the draft over the last several years, and have done a great job of developing those pitchers. It’s to the point where they have guys performing well in Altoona and Bradenton, despite the fact that those pitchers have very little chance of a significant starting role in Pittsburgh in the future.

Take Altoona’s rotation, for example. It features Angel Sanchez, Jason Creasy, and Chad Kuhl. Those are three right-handers who can hit mid-90s with their fastballs, post good numbers, and could fill a back of the rotation starter role, a strong bullpen role, or depth out of Triple-A. Then you’ve got guys like Clay Holmes, Tyler Eppler, Austin Coley, Yeudy Garcia, Alex McRae, Colten Brewer, and a few others in A-ball. That’s not counting lefties like Zack Dodson, Steven Brault, Jayson Aquino, Cody Dickson, John Sever, and Tarpley.

Bottom line, the Pirates have a ton of pitching depth, with plenty of guys who could pitch in the majors. These aren’t top of the rotation guys, but the Pirates have a few of those prospects, and a few guys who could be middle of the rotation guys. As a result, they have a ton of back of the rotation or depth starters, and limited spots for those guys.

This area won’t land them a top guy like Cole Hamels. But it might land them a good bullpen piece or a bench player at the deadline, if that’s the route they choose to take. And even if the Pirates deal a talented player away from this group, their depth would make it so that they wouldn’t miss that player in the future.

  • No way I’m letting Meadows go anywhere. Give him a 1B glove if you need to, his bat will play anywhere. Bell, well i’m just not as high on the guy as everyone else here.

  • mymanwillie
    June 3, 2015 10:04 pm

    What would it take to get cole Hammel? He is under contract for three more years?

  • I think the only scenario where a trade for Hamels makes sense is if the Pirates can offset some of the salary he’s due (approx $106M for 4 2/3 yrs incl. option year). The pirates paid Liriano $13M/yr, so let’s just say they are comfortable going to $15M/ year for Hamels. That means about $70M, so they need to get the Phillies to take on $36M of that salary.

    If they would take on $36M of the $106M, great! Make the deal. ~5 years of Hamels is worth 6 years of what Taillon might be (including whatever learning curve there is)

    If not, you could get creative with the $ and get them to take Tabata, who is due about $8M more. Get them to take Pedro, who is producing at replacement level at $8M this year, and probably about $10M next year (so another $15M). Send them Taillon and a lower prospect. and get them to eat the remaining $13M. Move Walker to 1B and fill in 2B with one of Mercer/Kang/Harrison. You’ve lost a little bench depth but added an ace.

  • In the spring I jokingly said, “No matter the professional sport, never cut a guy named ‘Archimedes.’ ”
    I’d like to see his spped clone (Holdzkom) in the back end of the bullpen for those times–and they will come–when Melancon won’t have it.

    • My take on what the Pirates should look for is a bullpen arm. It would be great to get a 1B who you can plug in to the cleanup spot but who?

      If the Pirates went after a starting pitcher, they would target a guy who is a short term rental type for a couple of reasons. 1. They wont want to give up the big prospects to get a Hamels regardless of how much the Phillies kick in. 2. They could target Cueto and despite what most will say, the Reds wont care if he goes within the division because he will probably not re-sign with them anyhow. I could see Jeff Samardjiza being a big target for them or someone along those lines.

  • Everything is about Hamel

  • There’s no way I make a trade that replaces Pedro Alvarez this season. As a person that studies hitting. I am blown away by the improvements of Pedro Alvarez at the plate. I haven’t compared his strikeouts to other seasons lately but his AB’s make him look like a different person. So many big hits to the opposite field. This whole team is set on hitting using the entire field. Jeff Branson has done a masterful job. There are some guys who’s numbers are down but after the starts they had the numbers look pretty good. I always said what separates the Cardinals offense to the Pirates offense was their ability to hit balls the other way. The Pirates are there. It’s too bad we spotter STL a 9 game lead this year. I’m not sure they will ever lose enough to catch up. I like this teams starters. Small moves would help stabilize. Bench and bullpen. Ziegler or Nechek would be great fits. (Neshek was just sent down)

    • His strikeouts are down, and he does look better, but he is also hitting more grounders. I did some math a few weeks back that even with his reduced k rate and assuming return of his career fb%, he’d be around 248/330/462 with 30 HR (assuming average babip and HR/FB). That’s a good year. But consider he’s currently .242/.319/.466 on pace for 29 HR and his WAR is still flat at 0. Yeah, he’s still figuring out defense at first, but they Pirates are only going to have him for another year. That’s a lot of money for 0 WAR from 1B.

  • The Pirates have one of the best teams in the league. Adding Hamels would be a coup, but the cost measured in prospects and salary (Hamels’) would undermine the organization in the near and distant future. A lesser trade target makes more sense. But, then again, trading future value for, at best, one win is a waste of resources even if that win made the Pirates division winners instead of a wild card team.

    • I think the difference is much more than a single win. Consider this, for example, Hamels is worth 1.0 WAR at current. Jeff Locke is worth 0.3 WAR currently. If you just offset each other you’d have almost gained a full win without playing out the remainder of the year. Over the course of the full year it is more like 2.5-3 wins. That is a HUGE difference maker. And winning the division vs. the wild card is also huge for the Pirates. Gigantic honestly, especially with the home/road splits and especially considering that at some point they would likely have to play against the Cards who own us at home and we own at home.

      • My one win claim referred to a lesser player, not Hamels. Hamels might produce more than one win, but he would cost more in salary and prospects. And, as a pitcher past his thirtieth birthday, Hamels comes with significant risk — risk of injury, risk of age related decline. Matt Morris once was a good pitcher.

  • To trade or not to trade, that is the question. It’s also a question that will be answered based on need. I.e. the pirates are doing just fine before the deadline and don’t need help, they wiil stand pat, on the other hand injuries and/ or poor performance will most likely force nh’s hand. This of course is based on the assumption that the buc’s will be in contention, if not then this is all a mote point.

  • Every year we along with other teams look to trade prospects for proven talent. The only problem with that is that the proven talent in most cases doesn’t fit in and doesn’t produce for the team. I am not one who wants to give up prospects (suspects) for proven talent at the deadline because the costs are too high and the return is usually substandard. I was not upset when the Bucs did not make a move last year and I will not be upset if they stand pat this year. The team can not afford to sign Cutch after this contract unless he gives them a

  • I don’t expect Pirates to make a big trade this summer even though they clearly have resources to make it happen. Quite frankly, they don’t have a glaring need on the roster. And before anyone starts screaming for someone like Hamels to replace Locke, consider Pirates may be able to move Taillon into this spot later this summer.

    • That’s just it. The most glaring hole on this team is the 4th spot in the batting order. The spot that Alvarez should be filling. But Hamels will never happen nor should based on current circumstances. Although he’d look good between cole and aj.

      • Scott Kliesen
        June 3, 2015 10:10 am

        I agree with you about Alvarez and #4 spot in lineup, but I like the way Liriano looks between Cole and Burnett.

    • Or richard sooner than that if he keeps progressing like he has been.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 3, 2015 9:19 am

    I don’t know what his value would be in a trade – but I would think a guy like Broxton may be attractive to a team that is down an outfielder and doesn’t have attractive options in their own system for the near term. His value is likely to never be higher than it is right now, whatever that value is.

    Rojas, Lambo, and Decker probably don’t have nearly as much value right now, because of injuries, etc.

    Maybe if he was part of a larger package, he could bring a reliever who could strengthen the bullpen?

    Other guys who we could likely afford to trade and may be of value to other teams would include Lombardozzi, Mercer, Moroff.

  • Wondering out loud: What would it cost to get Dan Haren from the Marlins?

    • What about Harang from the Phils?

      • Christopher B
        June 3, 2015 9:37 am

        I wanted Harang in free agency. He should be cheap in the trade market, and he’d be a heck of a fifth starter.

        • My dad screamed all offseason that they should sign Harang without giving any rhyme or reason. I told him the Pirates didn’t need him citing Locke, Worley and Kingham as better options……..he reminds me of this weekly.

        • Harang started last year out like a stud, but fizzled badly. I’d be very leery of bringing him in.

  • I would have included Meadows in the “untouchable” or “shouldn’t trade” category. You’re talking about a big bat, maybe the best bat in the system, with untapped power potential who is already tearing up pitching advanced for his age. What is the Pirates mantra again? Find good hitters and you’ll develop a defensive position for them?…a small market ream like the Pirates can’t trade a prospect like Meadows who looks like he had the makings of a star. It is, currently, irrelevant what position he plays.

    As for 2015 MLB depth and Elias Diaz….they should certainly be available. Teams want MLB ready talent and remember the Pirates do get something in return when they trade these guys. Trading Sadler (rather him than Sampson) in a deal doesn’t really hurt the depth because you’re getting a piece back in that deal as well. Trading Diaz leaves Sanchez still in the upper levels as a depth option who already has rapport with the staff. If you have to move Diaz to get a return that makes you a better MLB team, your long-term loss as well as short-term loss seems very manageable because of the depth at the position.

  • The players I would not trade are T. Glasnow, J. Taillon, [need starters], E. Diaz, R. Mcquire [need catchers], and Luis Heredia as I have high hope for him. All others are fair game. BTW, oops, Josh Bell [I forgot him] will be the future 1st baseman. Then maybe the Pirates will then accept less for Pedro when they try and deal him again this off season.

    • I’d trade Heredia for a Chad Hermanson bobblehead.

      Not sure what hope there is for a low 90’s pitcher (92-93 MPH?) with no command. jmo

      • For a 20 YO that is not to shabby. In 2-3 years it will be easily mid 90s. The Pirates specialize in correction of command.

  • Tim, just saying Jayson Aquino throws the ball with his left arm. The way you have it above makes him sound like a right handed pitcher.

  • Since there is no guarantee that Tyler or Taillon will ever make it, if Ruben wants him in a deal for Hamels, then I’m moving one of them. Hamels can be kept thru 2018, I believe.

    Maybe Tyler, Locke, Ramirez and Moroff?

    Of course, then there’s Hamels’ financial commitment and that dang no trade clause he’d have to waive.

    • Yep, what is the cost (lots of prospects with high ceilings and increasingly higher floors at low cost for 6 years) for 1 pitcher who is a sore elbow away from being a $20/million paper weight. I would be hard pressed to say that a small market/small revenue team like the Pirates would think that this is a deal where the risks are manageable and reasonable. Maybe if the deal was for Hamels with an intent to flip him again this winter for 80% of the prospect haul sent away, but those types of deals are tough to stomach when the margin of error/margin of bad luck for the Pirates is fairly small.

      • David…you make a good point for NOT making a move.

        You never know what’ll happen in a deal. All of the 4 guys I mentioned above could be busts and Hamels could be brilliant the next four years.

        Or, as you mention, he could go Cliff Lee on us and JT or Tyler could become the next Cole.

        ALL trades are risks.

        But, I’d still do it…..and I reserve the right to harangue NH if the trade busts….lol.

    • The rumors are he’d waive his no trade clause if the team agreed to pick up his 2019 option for 20 million.

  • I wouldn’t say no to Taillon/Glasnow trade. Say you trade one of them for Hamels. You lose a top 3 pitching prospect/top 3 rotation, but you gain an experienced top 3 rotation star in Hamels for at least 3 years. The whole point of this is the Pirates have small windows in which to win World Series right? So Hamels helps you accomplish this. We have a ton of lower level pitching and all you need is 1 of them to be great (top 3 rotation). In 3 years when Hamels leaves, hopefully 1 of those pitchers can be ready to fill his space. Imagine Cole, Hamels, Burnett, Liriano pitching in playoffs!! P.S. trade Taillon, not Glasnow. My opinion is Taillon always has looked a bit below most top prospects across baseball, where as my opinion is that Glasnow is Randy Johnson scary!

    • Taillon and whom else? A couple guys after top 20, sure. Taillon plus 1 top 10, 2 top 20, no

    • Making a move such as trading your best prospects for Hamels (it wouldn’t just be a Taillon or Glasnow straight up, either) is the type of move that would give the Pirates a small window to win. If a small market team makes the smart moves (trading players in the final year of their contract for a haul of prospects, for instance) then there is no reason for a team to have a small window to win. The Brewers gave themselves a small window by making big moves to “go for it all”, the thing is that you don’t need to go with that approach. The approach should be to make the playoffs every year. You do that by playing smart. Just ask Oakland how “going for it all” went last year.

      • It’s this type of “fear mongering” about prospects that drives me crazy. When the Pirates were rated as the best farm system last year it was because of their incredible depth. They added to that depth this last year with the addition of Tarpley and Brault. There is absolutely NO guarantee with prospects, even upper level prospects, and that is why depth is important. If you give up a top 5 and two top 25 prospects for Hamels, chances are that 2 out of the 3 don’t reach their ceiling. If the one who does is the pitcher, look at Cole as a guide: it will take 2 years for him to reach his MLB ceiling once he’s in the MLB. So you lose 3-4 years of a top of the rotation starter POTENTIAL for a guy who already pitches like that in Hamels? How is this anything like the Brewers? In fact, the prospects the Brewers traded for Sabathia turned out to be nothing! Plus the Brewers didn’t have the organizational depth that the Pirates currently do. That’s what the whole idea of the depth is for! Attrition and acquiring other pieces. I believe Hamels deal has an option that runs through 2018. That means you’d have Cole, Liriano, and Hamels through 2017 to make up a killer starting trio with McCutchen and Matte and still have 4 of your top 5 prospects and 20 of your top 25?! In an organization that is 30-35 deep with the draft being next week as well? Losing Taillon or Glasnow would hurt, undoubtedly, but the whole fear mongering and “window” talk and all that is bologna!

        • Jared, you clearly have some valid points, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Pirates to make this deal.

          First, Pirates MO is to draft and develop their top talent, not trade for it when they’re making top money. It has been sighted multiple times Pirates don’t believe one player should make more than 15% of total team payroll.

          Next, a trade for Hamels has potential of blowing up in their face if an injury occurs. Pirates are very cautious with their own arms cause of fear of injury. To expect them to commit this much salary to Hamels for the number of years left on his contract is quite frankly a pipe dream.

          Lastly, Pirates don’t need Hamels to win in post-season as you suggest. A rotation of Cole, Liriano, Burnett and Morton is fully capable of winning a WSthis season. Inserting Taillon and Glasnow in there starting next year and it’s clear SP is a team strength.

          • Scott, I do not disagree with you about whether the deal is likely to happen. That doesn’t, however, have much bearing on what the right approach is or whether it could happen or whether the “fear mongering” as it comes to prospects is valid, which was my overriding point.

            The Pirates MO is, certainly, to draft and develop their own top talent. However, they also went after David Price and Jon Lester last year. The price tags in terms of money were less for both players but they were similar age to Hamels and they were offering Bell (reportedly) at the time. Those trades, in hindsight, are trades I am glad we did not make as losing Bell would be extremely detrimental in my eyes. We have pitching depth and have depth at catcher and 2nd base and the outfield. Those are positions of strength you can trade from, but 1B and 3B? We have nothing and definitely should not trade what little we do have.

            Speaking of Lester and Price last year and the continued contention around this website about Hamels and “injury” history and injury potential consider these three pitchers:
            (1) averaged 211IP last 7 years, 3.38 xFIP career, age 31
            (2) averaged 215IP last 5 years, 3.41 xFIP career, age 29
            (3) averaged 207IP last 7 years, 3.65 xFIP career, age 30
            Two of those pitchers are Lester and Price and one is Hamels. The first one is Hamels, second is Price and third is Lester. Lester was 1 year younger than Hamels when we discussed getting him last year. Price was 2 years younger. Hamels has averaged a better xFIP than both for his career and has pitched as many or more innings.

            People can talk about his cost in terms of dollars, but, honestly, I like that if we traded for him we would have him for more than 3 months or a year and 3 months. I like that we would be getting his control for 3! First, it lengthens his impact. Instead of just buying 1 win or 1/2 a win, you’re buying 12-15 WAR.

            You’re also right that we dont “need” him to win the World Series as we have a strong team. However, Vance Worley and Jeff Locke have combined for .8 WAR and with Locke as the 5th starter we likely will get 1-1.2 WAR out of Locke for the year as our 5th starter. Hamels is going to end the year at 3.5-4.5 WAR. That extra 2-3 wins could very well be the difference between a division and a wild card…and our odds at going deep into the playoffs go up dramatically if we do not have to play in the one-and-done wild card series, especially with our pitching depth. This also is a trade that gives you a front of Cole, Liriano, and Hamels next year when AJ retires.

            Listen, it is unlikely to happen and I get it…and Amaro is crazy as it is, but the honest truth is that Cole Hamels is a really, really solid add and should be someone the Pirates consider heavily.

            • Scott Kliesen
              June 3, 2015 3:54 pm

              I like the way your brain works, but from a risk standpoint Hamels makes no sense for any small market team. They would literally be putting all their eggs in this one basket.

        • piraterican21
          June 3, 2015 10:59 am

          To add Jared’s point, Cliff Lee has been traded a few times for top prospects, name one that has had any impact……..
          Now my contribution to this tread, looking at the line up that we field these last to game makes me dream of the impact of a true clean up hitter. Imagine someone like Prince Fielder batting 4th and Neil batting 6th after Marte (Alvarez gone of course) I know that Fielder cant field (ironic) but he cant be much worse than Alvarez and his bat will not only stretch this line up but make up for his defense.

          • Brian Finamore
            June 3, 2015 11:29 am

            You’re kidding, right? Fielder is under contract until 2020 for $24M a year. There’s absolutely no way they pay anyone not named McCutchen that kind of money (including Hamels, by the way), especially someone who is 31 and coming off a 42 game season in 2014.

            • piraterican21
              June 4, 2015 12:22 am

              I was not kidding, but I also did not mean to suggest that the team takes on the whole amount, of which if I’m not mistaken Detroit is paying some of it. Perhaps Fielder is not the right target, but the point was that instead of targeting a sudo ace, a true clean up hitter is perhaps a greater need and one that we do not have in the pipelines. Btw Brantley is a fair value for Lee, that makes one of the three team that traded him break even!

          • CC Sabathia Trade:

            Best player was Michael Brantley and he was the PTBNL, not an integral piece at all. The others were complete flameouts.

            Cliff Lee Trade(s):
            Carlos Carrasco: actually decent
            Jason Knapp: no
            Lou Marson: no
            Jason Donald: no
            JC Ramirez: no
            Phillipe Aumont: no
            Tyson Gilles: no
            Justin Smoak: decent, but not great, never developed
            Blake Beavan: no
            Josh Lueke: no
            Matt Lawson: no

            The point is that out of the 15 players that were traded for Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia…TWO have turned out and one is a star but he was the PTBNL throw-in in the deal for Sabathia. Meanwhile Lee won a World Series and went deep in the playoffs other time and CC Sabathia helped take the Brewers to the playoffs (not as much success story obviously). Who would rather have any of those players than CC or Cliff Lee?

      • Very well said Paul.

    • IMO that the Pirates have little interest in Cole Hamels because of money. They elected to let Edison Volquez walk for 2-3 years and 30 mil so why would they have interest in a lot more money for Hamels?????

      • Christopher B
        June 3, 2015 9:33 am

        They let Volquez walk because he was tough to predict and AJ came along on the cheap. Eddie had a great year last year, but he was pretty luck. They probably figured he was too much of a risk to blow up to offer not only that money, but a multi-year term.

        Hamels has a much higher value. You can’t treat this as just the dollars. It’s dollars relative to value.

        • They’re the Pirates. It’s all about the dollars. They look for value in what they’re willing to spend. They’re not willing to spend the type of money it takes to pay Hamel.

          • Which isnt an inherently negative thing, since the type of money it takes to pay Hamels is excessive and makes it tough to fill out a roster if operating between 95-110 million per year. Particularly if you are giving the market rate pitcher that money over 3-6 years.

      • Um, because Cole Hamels is actually good at baseball?

        • Uh, he wasn’t discussing his ability, he was discussing finances. It was clearly indicated in his first sentence. Andrew McCutchen is really good at baseball. They won’t pay him what the market will bear. This is no secret.

    • Honestly, that is, in my mind, what also really sucks about the Kingham injury. If you had Kingham producing well at AAA you can use him in a trade or would feel more comfortable giving up Taillon in a Hamels deal bc you have Kingham waiting to take a back of the rotation spot, and probably excel in that spot, and would have Hamels foe 3 years. Not having Kingham kind of, in my mind, hurts here a little.

      • This whole trade for Hamels talk makes for lively message board banter, but to think it’s even remotely possible is pure fantasy.

        • Consider this: The Pirates were in on David Price last year until the end and we would have owed him ~$7M for last year and $19.5M for this year. We would owe Cole Hamels ~$11.25M this year and $22.5M next three seasons. They were willing to go to close to that for David Price. What is the difference? ~$7.25 for the same two years with another two years of $22.5M? I get the added two years at $22.5M is the real kicker, but the actual cost for the first two years is extremely similar. And the Phillies are going to have to kick in money regardless.

    • Pirates aren’t trading for Hamels for a myriad of reasons, nor should they. Let some other organization role the dice with him. Pirates don’t need him this year or any year after to win WS.

    • Have you seen either Glasnow or Taillon pitch at AA more than once ? If not, don’t be too quick to pass judgement.

      • I personally have not seen either pitch in AA or live at all. But they’re untouchable in my eyes. They’re not going to spend the 20 plus million on a #1 pitcher so you have to grow them. We could argue all day long about whether they could afford 20-25 a year on a pitcher but let’s honest – they’re not going to do it regardless. I don’t think it’s fair to say Taillon and/or Glasnow is a lock to be the next Gerrit Cole. But if you watch Cole and you think Taillon or Glasnow has that chance you don’t trade them. I would part with Meadows but even then I’d have to be blown away. Bell is untouchable to me because without him there is NO ONE on the horizon at first.

        • Patrick Kelly
          June 3, 2015 10:42 am

          Jose Osuna isn’t exactly no one. Slightly younger than Bell and now at the same level. He doesn’t have the same contact ability as Bell, but he certainly has more power. He seems to be getting better as he gets older, so what we have seen from him last year and so far this year might not be his peak performance level.

          Now I wouldn’t trade Bell right now because Osuna is playing well, but there are a few potential fallback options in case they do or he fails.

  • The big question would be, wha

    • I’d like another bullpen arm. Wouldn’t mind another bench bat. Would love another starter.

      • The trade deadline isn’t until July 31st. Taillon should, ideally, be two more extended spring training starts away from joining Indy again (maybe after a start or two in the lower levels). By late July, the Bucs should have a good idea whether or not he’ll be ready to make the jump to Pittsburgh this season. There are a lot of “ifs” in there, I grant you, but maybe Taillon is the answer for improving the bottom of the rotation late in the season without trading anyone.

        • Maybe. I have never, honestly, been thrilled with Taillon but that might be because I really wanted Manny Machado or Matt Harvey instead in that draft. He has never put up great numbers (and I know that there are always excuses given for why, but honestly at the end of the day you execute your pitches and if you’ve got the stuff you’ll get the numbers and he just hasn’t done it for me). But, certainly, I would say he’s better than Jeff Locke.

          • You’re kidding. You wanted Harvey over Taillon? I never would’ve considered Harvey there. Now granted I know a lot more about the draft now than I did in 2010 but everyone and their mother was saying it was between Machado and Taillon and if I remember correctly (not that it matters a huge amount) but there were “character concerns” about Machado.

            • It was basically between Machado and Taillon. Everyone knew those three were going to go 1-2-3, but in which order was the question. I have a preference for college talent, to be honest, and I liked Harvey a lot. I wanted Machado badly and, at the time, I argued that if we were going to take a pitcher a college pitcher would be my preference: Harvey leading the way for me. He was great at UNC and I had the opportunity to see him up-close-and-personal and loved his makeup. Regardless, it wouldn’t have been Harvey…it would have been Machado for me, 100%.

              • Interesting.

                • If you read any of my comments on the draft columns now, I’m almost entirely interested in college players. Just how I am I guess. I do like Nikorak though, I wont lie.

          • One issue is that Taillon was very young for the levels he was pitching at. If adjusted for age, he had extremely good numbers in 2012 and 2013. They were good even without that necessary adjustment. That is why he has been ranked so high on the various prospects lists – not just by Pirates fans/blogs.