It seems that the next player to be traded away by the Pirates will be Josh Harrison. That said, there are questions about whether he could be moved in the current market for second basemen.

Yesterday, the New York Post reported that the Mets and Pirates have had discussions about Harrison, with the Pirates reportedly looking to get Brandon Nimmo in return. The talks have reportedly stalled, due to the Mets being unwilling to deal Nimmo due to Harrison’s remaining contract. There was another rumor that the Pirates discussed Nimmo in a potential Andrew McCutchen trade, before McCutchen was traded to the Giants. So there are multiple signs that the Pirates are interested in the outfielder, who is 24 and has five years of control remaining.

Harrison is due $10 M this year, and has options for the next two seasons. Those options would pay him $10.5 M in 2019, and $11.5 M in 2020. There is a $1 M buyout in 2019, and a $500,000 buyout in 2020. Therefore, a team taking him on would be looking at $11 M guaranteed for 2018. They’d have to spend an additional $10 M to guarantee the 2019 season. Then an additional $11 M to guarantee the 2020 season.

Harrison is worth that by the numbers. He had a 2.6 fWAR last year, and with a win being worth $8-9 M on the open market, that puts his value well above the $10-11 M range per year. However, he’s been inconsistent, putting up a 1.4 and 1.2 fWAR in the two previous years, dealing with some injury problems in both years. That production would barely break even and wouldn’t give him much value under his current deal. However, I don’t think Harrison should be graded at either extreme, but instead somewhere in the middle, which would give him value.

The problem is that the Mets have a lot of options. They are looking for a second or third baseman, and the Post says they’ve got Neil Walker, Todd Frazier, Eduardo Nunez, and Jose Reyes as other options, in addition to Harrison.

Harrison has also been linked to other teams earlier in the offseason. We’ll see if the Pirates end up trading him. I don’t think that they’d need to pay down his salary to move him for a decent return, but if that was a need, they definitely have the payroll space available this year, as they’re currently sitting around $81.5 M with his full salary.

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87 COMMENTS

  1. Is Nimmo really better than Luplow? I would prefer Pirates try to get younger, but higher upside prospects.

  2. Not really a Nimmo guy, although he does have some offensive upside. Luplow might be just as good in the long run. NH realizes he’s not getting any pitching from the Mets, so he’s trying to get their next best prospect. They don’t really have much in their upper system to warrant JHay. If we could pry away a pitcher would be nice though.

  3. I would like a comparison piece discussing Harrison versus his potential replacement, be it Moroff or whomever.

    -Wabbit

  4. Mitch T…You say C.Frazier is all projection……What do you think Meadows is ??? I’ll take Frazier over Meadows in a heartbeat.

    • I would not trade Meadows for Frazier. Not even close. Frazier is a borderline starter, while Meadows could be a star if he puts it together and stays healthy.

  5. Harrison is barely worth his contract *to the pirates* by the numbers. They can’t afford to pay FA $8M-$9M per WAR. That’s the MLB average. They can’t and don’t spend at the MLB average.

  6. Nimmo looks good. Harrison doesn’t have that much excess value, so I’d be pretty pleased to turn him into Nimmo, who looks considerably better than Luplow or Adam Frazier.

    With the health/performance struggles of Polanco and Meadows, there’s plenty of reason to believe an additional corner OF would have playing time.

  7. Christian Yellich is asking to be traded, the Pirates have payroll and prospects. That is the only deal they should be looking at. You want to add Harrison and eat salary, great, but Yellich is the type of player, the Pirates should be looking to acquire.

  8. Unless teams are competing for Harrison why would any team give much value to the pirates for him. They all know that the pirates will dump him for no other reason than to ditch his salary. The esoteric WAR value stuff ignores the factual context of harrison’s Market value.

  9. Does their interest in outfielders portend a planned departure of Marte and Polonco during the so called window of competitiveness?

    • It’s not a bad idea, but I’d temper expectations on what that extra $10M would bring back in prospect value. According to Fangraphs’ model, a 45 FV prospect outside the Top 100. A platoon bat, #5 starter or middle reliever. Useful, but not an upgrade over what you already have.

      https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/valuing-the-2017-top-100-prospects/

      Ideally you find a team that thinks Harrison already has decent enough surplus value and you convert that plus the cash they don’t have to pay into a 50 FV prospect, someone in the #75-#100 range. Especially if you can get a catcher, I would do it.

      • Just something to chew on here. Not every team deals only with the idea of value (or only use WAR when making trades). Some actually might need a really good 2nd baseman to compete for their division or the playoffs.

        • Which has nothing to do with what I wrote. Whether the team covets Harrison or not is already assumed. It’s how much they’re willing to pay, in money or prospects.

          The Fangraphs model accounts for what teams have actually paid, in prospects, for established players whose salaries and production are known quantities. It’s an average. There’s a little bit of Dombrowski in there, and a little bit of Huntington in there. You can get incrementally more or less depending on whom you negotiate with and a handful of other factors, but GMs like Dave Stewart, Ruben Amaro, Bill Stoneman and Ned Coletti, whose prospect valuations were substantially lower than the norm, are basically extinct.

          Stewart, in fact, DID trade a 50 FV prospect (Touki Toussaint) for $10M in salary relief (the DL’d Bronson Arroyo), and between that and the Dansby Swanson/Shelby Miller deal, he ran himself out of town.

  10. I think they keep Harrison, see how Moran, Meadows, Diaz, Luplow and Glasnow do. At the trade deadline, NH knows where the holes are. Then he deals Harrison and Nova plus a couple prospects and plugs the holes with decent young, controllable prospects. Not going to get elite guys, but teams trying to contend should overpay for Harrison and Nova. Of course, if J-Hay and Nova suck this season ….

    • Nimmo hasn’t development any power, slugged just .480 in the best PCL park there is, and can’t hit lefties, and has been hurt as much as Meadows. IMO, he’s not really a prize unless you put the word “consolation” in front of it.

  11. The Pirates need another full time outfielder as it stands right now. Is Nimmo the answer?? or can it be John Jay FA??, the one thing I do believe is that their using a platoon out there from a choice of NOT outfielders would be very disheartening….

      • It’s worth noting, in this depressed free agent market, this is not at all a bad strategy. There could very well be a lot of 1-year deals for pretty good bats out there. I personally would prefer someone who can play center to maintain Marte’s value in LF – Jay, Dyson, Maybin. Or just play to the name dropping crowd and sign CarGo.

        • CarGo will hold out for multiyear, as would Maybin. Jay compiled most of his stats against us, lol..

          I’d go with a Daniel Nava or Seth Smith type who will happily take a year and under $3 mill just to stay in the show.

          • Most years I would agree with you, but this market is behaving fundamentally differently from any previous year I can recall. Pitchers and catchers report in a little over 3 weeks, and no one has heard even a sniff about 2 year deals for that lot. People might be inclined to read into the market that this is when take the one-year and throw yourself back out there when the luxury tax penalties re-set and more teams are buying. That’s what I’m hoping for, and if there’s one thing NH can’t pass up, it’s a low-risk flyer on a proven veteran.

  12. Huntington stated on MLB network he invisions Harrison being a big part of this team. I don’t think he’s getting traded this off season.

    Also, with the lineup the Pirates have and the gluteny of Free Agent options I have a feeling they will sign someone of value to play in the OF. Would anyone be opposed to signing LoMo and sticking him in RF?

    • Well for me 2 problems with that..First off it moves Polanco to Left field not good and Second LoMo is really a 1st base DH option

      • I agree. LoMos bat is pretty much what I was looking at. I prefer Polanco in RF too, but seen reports he would be possibly moving to LF again. Lot of good OF out there. LoMo production though from last year in the middle of this lineup would be very nice.

          • Back to the old Bucco ways. However, I see the 3 hitters they received Moran, Reynolds and Martin all have that lift swing now, well at least the case of Moran and Martin. Reynolds swing from left and right side look very nice.

    • Don’t ever waste your time listening to NH your only going to get GM speak/BS. He says what he has to say though most of its lies. I don’t blame him though because to announce to the world we are going to trade Harrison or anyone no matter what doesn’t do the Pirates any good

    • glut
      the word is glut

      stepping on Foo’s toes here, but…

      gluteny is probably the condition of having glutens in a food source.
      glutony is about overeating… bunch of fat FAs anyway!

      -Wabbit

  13. I would not be interested in the Pirates dealing for Nimmo. I would like to see if the Pirates could deal J.Hay to the Yanks for C.Frazier. I believe if they did that, the Pirates would have to sweeten the pot either with another player going with Harrison or take on some of the salary, but i think that is the deal to try and make.

    • This is the trade I’ve been looking to make as well. I’d be interested in what Tim has to say about this scenario. What’s the value of each player and what would the Bucs have to do additionally to make it happen.

      I think with Frazier, this team could at least be interesting to watch in 2018. For example, with this move and if Meadows shows he can stay healthy and produce, they could trade Polanco at the deadline and stock a few more prospects for the following season. Then catcher is all we really have to go outside of the system to acquire.

        • Frazier is all projection, never delivereing huge numbers in MiLB. Thats not a bad thing but any notion of throwing in a player with Harrison to get a guy like Frazier is silly talk.

          • I would not do that but we are not getting anyone of true value for Harrison. especially when everyone know we are having a fire sale.

    • Because his GM traded an underachieving pitcher and OF who is going to be 32 years, a Free Agent at seasons end, hit 190. Until the first week of June and was rated the worse defensive CF in baseball the last two years running with -22 runs saved.

      What are you going to bitch about if Moran hits 25+ HRs next year? Complain that he makes league minimum because he’s a rookie?

      • That same OF played way better in CF last year and batted over 330 With a strong OPS after he was batting 190. I will not even discuss what he did the previous 7 years (in your mind I guess we should just ignore them and focus on a period in between his stellar play. Additionally he played better that Marte did in his short stint in CF in early April. As for Nuttings removal I am for it but who cares what I think. Its his team to do with as he pleases and he certainly has proven that our opinions hardly matter about that.

        • So again, this is the argument I’ve heard from many. Everyone wants McCutchen paid for his past, regardless of what he will become or if he will even benefit this team now or in the future. Basically, the “fans” are okay with losing as long as Cutch was extended for 20+ mill a year. Is that fairly accurate?

          • Yes, that’s accurate. And the quintessential reason the city here drives me bananas. With the emotion of the 20 year losing streak, and the lack of credit given to this management group for pulling the team out of those doldrums; there is just no winning/pleasing most fans here. 5 years just went by with our team being viewed externally (and evidenced by wins/losses record) as one of the best orga in baseball… and many missed that by being miserable and stuck in the mid to late 90s. People literally said “Bucs will never win or sign players long term…” while they were doing just that. Could they have added an extra arm or another big bat in 2014/2015 for the push? Possibly… but the irrationality of a big chunk of the fan base is maddening. I’d love if the fans continue to hold management accountable- but enjoy this team, appreciate the effort it’s taken to get here, and attempt to objective. The Pirates are going to be younger and better off in the coming 3 seasons. Stay away from the #cheapirates #nuttingswallet #classenvy

            • Brilemon and BigBob, that is the smartest, most accurate statement I’ve ever seen here regarding the pirates. Spot on. People are saying they’d be fine to lose so long as they’re paying Cutch 20M. And these dumb yinzers will all be back the second this team sniffs contention in 2019 or 2020 or if by fluke in 2018.

              • Thomas.

                I don’t consider them dumb yinzers. You don’t have to condescend a passionate Pirate fan who doesn’t pay attention to baseball economics.

                For me, hey, I went through those 20 years and never gave up. And, you know, I appreciate this front office for the way they cleaned up that horrible mess.

                And, you know, I really enjoy this phase of Pirate baseball and this site as well. I like seeing the young guys be thrust into the fire and seeing what happens.

                Probably the biggest key to me is Glasnow figuring it out. I am really pulling for the big guy. Now, he’s gonna go out there with a long leash and get it done or not, but it will be exciting to see who turns into gems and who gets discarded in the rebuild.

                Hot stove is sometimes more fun than the season for me.

                -Wabbit

            • I didn’t realize how well we did the last two years until you explained it to me. I guess if winning around 75 games a year is great then we are a wonderfully run organization and have many years of success ahead of us. I guess if the goal is only to have a greater WAR per dollar spent then everyone else in the league then we are doing great. If the goal is to try to compete and win or play in some World Series then I am not so sure. I don’t blame NH for any of my issues he does the best he can within the perameters this ownership allows him. I just question why other organizations with the same market as us find ways to always seem to spend more when they are ready to compete

        • You’re missing his point: he’s in obvious decline, in every facet of his game. There’s no way the Pirates could afford to tie up 20% of their payroll for years to come on him, because there’s pretty much no chance he plays at that level going forward. I love the guy. Great person, great ambassador to the game, and lots of great memories. But, come on, when the Bucs first signed him to the deal we knew that if they weren’t in contention around 2017/2018 that they’d be trading him, even if he’d been a beast the last two seasons. If he was putting up 6 war now, sure the Bucs could pay him 20 million per season and it would be good for them right now. But then when he got past his mid 30s and started the inevitable decline, that salary would cripple the Bucs operation because they wouldn’t be getting production for all that money. Just the reality of the MLB economic landscape, in which the Pirates dwell in a valley.

        • The kool-aid flavor of reality, rationale, objective thinking. Yinz guys should try it sometime it tastes good!

      • I have no complaints about the Coolest trade. He was not what everyone hoped he would be. Would have liked more, but who wouldn’t. I get the reasons behind the Cutch trade but he was still our best hitter, and we really didn’t get anything for him. Every other team seems to get more value for their players. The nats deal last year if accurate made way more sense. Now Harrison for nothing. What’s the point. He’s not blocking anyone

        • It’s way to early to say what either trade will bring. We forget all these players are professionals for a reason. To me I think we got a lot for what Cole for what he’s done the past two years. Take away his name and trade his stats for the package of players we recieved and you would take that deal everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. I’m bullish on Moran and think Feliz and Musgrove will be quality major league pitchers.

          As for McCutchen trade, was the return what you would want for a guy named McCutchen? No. But again look at the past two years, age, stats, analytics, free agency looming etc. Bryan Reynolds and Crick was actually not a terrible return. Reynolds fits the mold of what Tim was talking about of getting a low level player before he blossomed. Keith Law thinks if he does what he did in A ball last year in AA this year he will be on top 100 prospect lists by mid season. I really like his swing a lot from both sides of the plate. A lot of videos on YouTube of him and I can see why the Pirates kicked in $2.5 mil to get him in the deal.

    • They have over 42,000 signatures….blowing way over their stated goal of 25,000. If nothing more an interesting measure of outrage and opinion.

    • What you can believe is they told the Bucs no on Nimmo and probably offered something far less. That would fit in with what has transpired in the previous trades. Whether the Bucs succumb again to a deal favoring our trading partner remains to be seen. My guess is where there is smoke there’s fire and Harrison will be gone within two weeks

        • Who believes Neal…or FC or BN???

          You know they are lying when you see their lips move.

          I encourage everyone sign the petition urging Nutting to sell; makes me feel better when I see over 50,000 have in the opast six days.

  14. I am partially interested in the Pirates direction, with regards to the recent returns and Nimmo talk. If indeed they could swing a deal to acquire Nimmo, that’d be their 3rd OF prospect in 3 trades within a week. But also, 3 of 4 position players acquired would be lefties, the 4th being a switch hitter. Are they placing more focus on acquiring lefties?

  15. I do think J-Hay will be dealt, however, do you see Nova and Cervelli going Hector should the Buccos be done dealing?

    • Ideally, they do get dealt but only in an actual trade and not a straight salary dump. However I see little chance of Nova being traded and no chance of Cervelli being traded.

      • Think trading deadline for both J-Hay and Nova. Hope they get off to great starts as they will be gone soon one way or another. We’d pay dearly to part ways with Cervelli—he’ll be helpful to our young pitchers anyway so that may be worth it.

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