Williams: Ben Cherington’s Pittsburgh Pirates Trade History

Today at 6:00 PM EST is the MLB trade deadline.

The Pirates have already made probably their biggest move in dealing Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton last night. They also traded Daniel Vogelbach for Colin Holderman. I’d expect more moves today before the deadline passes.

As we wait for the moves to be finalized, I wanted to take a look back at the trades made under Ben Cherington in the two years leading up to this season. It’s still early for results, but we have an idea of where some of the earlier deals are now heading.

Starling Marte for Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone

This was the first deal under Ben Cherington, made before the 2020 season and before the pandemic shut things down. Marte had two years remaining on his contract, and his value was lower at the time than it was after the 2021 season, when he signed a four year, $78 million deal. Cherington was dealing with a common problem where Pirates players were essentially worth less than their names. Arizona traded for Marte because of his potential to be better than what he had been with the Pirates leading up to the trade. They were hoping that the real Starling Marte would show up, and he did in 2021.

The Pirates had too many players who were underperforming in Pittsburgh, only to go elsewhere and get back on track. Cherington went more for upside in these trade returns, as seen here. Peguero and Malone were both in short-season ball at the time of this deal. Peguero has the highest upside, ranking as one of the best prospects in the system. He’s in Double-A during his age 21 season. His stats haven’t shown the upside, and he will need to gain consistency in applying his tools on the field to reach and stick in the majors. Malone has dealt with injuries and control issues, limiting him to only 5.2 innings above the Complex League.

The jury is still out on this deal, and it mostly relies on Peguero living up to his potential. Without that, this looks like a very bad return for one of the best players the Pirates had.

Joel Cesar for Austin Davis

The first year was quiet for the Pirates, with the minor addition of Austin Davis being a highlight of the 2020 deadline. COVID played a big role in altering that season, and we know that the Pirates got busy blowing up their roster after the season. I’m not highlighting every minor move, but this one led to a positive chain in additions.

Josh Bell for Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe

Josh Bell was a replacement level player in 2020. He was worth 2.9 fWAR in 2019 and 1.3 in 2018. Since this deal, he’s been worth 1.9 and 2.5 WAR the last two seasons with the Nationals. The Pirates traded Bell when his value was low. They received Wil Crowe for immediate help, and Eddy Yean for long-term help.

Crowe has emerged as a bullpen option who can pitch leverage innings. Yean is a big pitcher who has had control issues, and is getting hit a lot in Greensboro’s bullpen this year — both home and away. At best, this deal could give the Pirates a pair of relievers, but it looks like Bell for a set-up man at best.

Like the Marte deal, the Pirates were selling low on a player with two years of control remaining.

The Joe Musgrove Trade

A month after trading Bell, the Pirates moved Joe Musgrove in a three-team deal. They received David Bednar, Hudson Head, Drake Fellows, and Omar Cruz from the Padres. They also added Joey Lucchesi, before flipping the left-handed pitcher to the Mets for Endy Rodriguez, which really sealed this deal.

Bednar has provided the immediate return here as an All-Star closer. The Pirates could probably deal him at this point and get a similar return as the Musgrove trade — perhaps better. Endy Rodriguez leads the way for the rest of the group as one of the top ten prospects in the system. He’s currently hitting the ball well in Greensboro. Fellows has been limited to 11.2 innings by an injury. Cruz has a reliever profile, but is currently injured in Double-A. Head has raw power, but a long swing with holes gives him a three-outcomes approach in High-A at the age of 21.

This isn’t a bad deal so far. Musgrove has been outstanding, looking exactly like he did in 2018-2019. He has since signed a five year, $100 million extension. The Pirates traded him with two years of control remaining. Bednar is making this deal right now, and if Endy Rodriguez works out, this will easily look like one of the best moves for Cherington.

The Jameson Taillon Trade

The Taillon trade was made just after the Musgrove deal, with the Pirates getting Roansy Contreras to highlight the move. Contreras was a good scouting find as a lower level guy who advanced during the pandemic. He has since emerged as one of the top long-term pitching options for the Pirates’ rebuild. That’s what you want when you’re trading a previous long-term pitching option for a previous Pirates’ rebuild. Contreras is still an unknown, so this deal isn’t quite a win.

The Pirates also got Canaan Smith-Njigba, Miguel Yajure, and Maikol Escotto. The rest of this deal has taken a hit. CSN made the majors this year, but is currently out with an injury. He still factors into the outfield mix with the current upper level group. Yajure has struggled in the majors and in Indianapolis. Escotto has a lot of raw power, but struggled at a young age in Greensboro and was sent down to Bradenton again.

Taillon was coming off Tommy John surgery, with two years of control remaining. His value was low, but there were reports that Gerrit Cole lobbied the Yankees to pay up for him. I don’t think they regret the deal right now. I don’t think the Pirates do, either, but they need Roansy Contreras to work out.

Shendrick Apostel for Duane Underwood Jr.

The Pirates got a middle reliever with control for a prospect who hasn’t played in 2022. This is very similar to the Austin Davis deal, where they got a Major League talent for a guy in the lower levels of their system who was almost out of the game. The Pirates have Underwood Jr. under control for three more seasons.

The Adam Frazier Trade

The Pirates went back to San Diego six months after the Musgrove trade, sending Adam Frazier for Jack Suwinski, Tucupita Marcano, and Mitchell Miliano.

Suwinski has been the biggest standout here, leading NL rookies in home runs before being sent down to the minors. He’s going to need to hit more than homers to stick in the majors, but has shown average starter upside. Marcano has received a few shots, and shows some potential to at least be a bench guy. Miliano has been getting hit hard in Greensboro, with no control.

The Pirates weren’t selling low here. Frazier had a 2.9 WAR at the time of the deal, up from an 0.8 in 2020. He had a 2.7 WAR in 2019. The Pirates sold other players at a low value with two years remaining. They opted to keep Frazier, let his value increase, and dealt him at the deadline with a little over a year of control remaining. Suwinski has been more valuable than Frazier this year, in less time. This deal is looking good, and might be an argument against what the Pirates did with Marte and Bell.

Clay Holmes for Diego Castillo and Hoy Park

This deal I don’t understand. Holmes wasn’t pitching well for the Pirates, but was cheap with multiple years of control remaining. He’s got two more after this season with the Yankees. He’s emerged as a lights out reliever, with a 1.77 ERA and a 2.59 xFIP this year. That change happened almost immediately last year, following the trade. It’s another sign of the challenge that Cherington had with some players who may have never succeeded in Pittsburgh. That said, it doesn’t add hope that the Pirates couldn’t do anything with Holmes in a season and a half, only for him to immediately flip a switch elsewhere.

Castillo and Park both look like bench options. Castillo could develop into a starter, which would make this deal make sense. Otherwise, it’s a lateral move at best, and a still-existing red flag for the MLB development in Pittsburgh.

Tyler Anderson for Carter Bins and Joaquin Tejada

The Pirates tried to deal Anderson to the Phillies, before that deal fell through. That deal involved a catcher and a right-handed pitcher. They made the same deal with Seattle, adding Carter Bins and Joaquin Tejada. Bins is a solid defensive catcher who hasn’t been hitting in Triple-A, but has shown some power, with a .197 ISO. Tejada has thrown 19.1 innings in the Complex League, with a lot of strikeouts and a low average, but poor control.

Anderson was a rental, and lower value, so getting any potential MLB help is solid. Bins could be a backup catcher with power, and Tejada is a wild card.

Richard Rodriguez for Bryse Wilson and Ricky DeVito

Rodriguez had a solid 2021 season, and the Pirates definitely traded him at his highest value. Bryse Wilson has pitched 55.2 innings in the majors this year, showing the potential to be a reliever and spot starter. Wilson is coming off a month of July with a solid 3.27 ERA in 22 innings. If he can maintain this going forward, his contribution alone will make this deal look like a win. DeVito is a 23-year-old pitcher working in relief in Greensboro, with solid strikeout numbers and control issues.

Braeden Ogle for Abrahan Gutierrez

The Pirates tried to add Gutierrez in the first Tyler Anderson deal. They went back and got him by flipping minor league left-hander Braeden Ogle. Gutierrez boosts the catching depth, while Ogle has seen some improvements in Triple-A, but not enough yet to reach the majors.

Austin Davis for Michael Chavis

Remember that deal during a slow 2020 deadline? By this point, Joel Cesar wasn’t playing baseball. The Pirates flipped Austin Davis for Michael Chavis. This deal isn’t a monster. Chavis is replacement level and a platoon option. He is under control for three more seasons, and can provide power off the bench. Everything here is a bonus, as Davis and Chavis were essentially free players. These small moves don’t move the needle much, but they can find cheap talent to complement a team.

The Jacob Stallings Trade

The Pirates definitely didn’t sell low on Stallings. They traded the veteran catcher at a high point, getting MLB starter Zach Thompson, and minor leaguers Kyle Nicolas and Connor Scott. Thompson has back of the rotation potential. I think Nicolas could have a higher upside, either as a middle of the rotation starter or a leverage reliever. Scott has been inconsistent at the plate in Altoona this year. Stallings has struggled in Miami, with his offense cratering.

This deal is a perfect way to summarize the entire trade history of Cherington. The odds of a standout, impact player are slim. The odds of an average starter are higher. The odds of a 40-45+ player who will only serve as a complement to a contending team are more likely. It will all come down to the development.

Trade Analysis

It’s still very early for Cherington’s deals. That said, the Pirates traded Starling Marte, Josh Bell, Joe Musgrove, Jameson Taillon, Clay Holmes, Adam Frazier, and Jacob Stallings. Most of them had multiple years of control. That’s the start of a contending team. The downside the Pirates had was they didn’t have enough time to contend with these players, with some coming off down years, and some possibly never succeeding in Pittsburgh.

I’m not sure that the Pirates got equal long-term value in return. Which of the players above will make an impact on the next contender?

Peguero could be an impact player. So could Rodriguez. Contreras as an impact starter. Bednar in the bullpen.

As for average starters, Jack Suwinski leads the group right now, though no one has added comfort. There are some role players in guys like Wil Crowe and potential role players that will emerge from the group of Castillo, Marcano, and other 40-45+ grade players.

As long as there are question marks surrounding Peguero, Rodriguez, Contreras, and Suwinski, the Pirates will be working from behind on these deals. They have the potential to finish ahead, but will need to show that they can finalize the development of these players moving forward.


Williams: Ben Cherington’s Pittsburgh Pirates Trade History

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Wanted to share this link. It speaks of a study done by the writer that shows only 1 in 5 prospects acquired in deals make it to the majors. Basically shows the team trading the established player never truly recoups enough back. So maybe we give BC and Huntington passes because they never really have a chance to win a deal much. Here is an excerpt from the article.

Between 2001-17, a total of 676 prospects were dealt at the non-waiver trade deadline. Of those, 143 went on to have a consequential MLB career, defined here as playing the majority of at least two seasons in the majors and posting a positive career WAR, as measured by Baseball-Reference. That comes out to 21.2% of all prospects moved in deadline trades, or just over 1 in 5.


A lot of cherry picking to make a point here…..for example, evaluate Wilson on his entire 2022 season – not just picking out one month – his ERA is north of 6.00 and he gave up three home runs in less than 6 innings of work yesterday. He has been a disaster as a starting pitcher and that is why Atlanta was so willing to dump him in the Rodriguez trade.

Most of the trades listed have been inconsequential for the Pirates and the other team involved – most did not move the needle one way or the other…or its too early to assess because many of the players involved haven’t panned out yet at the major league level – the Musgrove trade (which is trending bad however despite Bednar’s very good performance this year), the Frazier trade, the Stallings trade for examples.

Here a few I will comment on…

I will say the Taillon trade shows long term promise, with Contreras and CSN. I really like CSN as a hitter and player. Contreras could end up being better than Taillon, if BC figures out he belongs in Pittsburgh and not Indy. I don’t expect anything from Yajure or Escotto however.

The Bell trade was poor – we got pitcher who was first sold to us as a starter, but has at least become a solid reliever for a 30+ HR hitter coming off a bad season. I don’t expect anything from Yean, although he was supposedly the most promising aspect of the trade for the Pirates.

Yes, Holmes has turned into a stud closer in NY since leaving Pittsburgh – although who could have expected that or seen that coming? Seems like a lot of ex-Pirates prospects/players thrive elsewhere…there are too many examples of that for it to be a coincidence. I do like Castillo, if the Pirates don’t mis-manage him into a non-prospect like so many others. Park is an organization player type.


I was a bit suprised that Ben didn’t dangle a prospect to entice another team into taking Yoshi’s salary off the books. That was pretty much my only suprise for the Pirates at the trade deadline. I thought for sure Ben would try something like that.


I’ve been feeling for a while now that Ben’s trades have been a bit underwhelming. The one thing they have accomplished, without a doubt, is to reduce payroll. They didn’t have to make some of these trades for money reasons and competitive reasons might’ve dictated holding on to these players. Ben continues to look more and more like Neal.


I think the hidden problem with any of these trades is we always are dealing from a perceived weakness. Meaning we can’t retain the player. Cole deal perfect example of this issue. Why I feel Reynolds should’ve been sent off this past offseason. BC was at the advantage, player was coming off a great season with yrs of control left. Probably the top of his bell curve. But now we waited and Reynolds number show regressions, especially K rate. If this slow burn continues as he ages and assume defense regresses. We looking at a terrible return. If you want to be the Rays u must act like them!! Look at our old friend Austin Meadows, dumped him at the right moment. We never do this with any of our talent. We sell low virtually every time. Idk with the fact we can’t develop or change culture not sure it even matter who we trade for or draft.


Great summary. It has seemed to me that this FO was working to lower payroll and accept lesser returns for accomplishing that feat. Never understood the Holmes or Bell trades, as the team has plenty of MIFs that have similar profiles and had no plan to replace Bell at 1B. It is difficult to rebuild when you fail to get at least one potential stud in return. Me thinks this rebuild is going to continue for longer than we anticipated.


Unrelated, but does anyone have thoughts on why the cubs didnt flip contreras? Maybe because they plan to re-sign him (I hope not) or is it a story with the rockies-esque blunder (which I doubt because hoyer is actually smart, but one can hope)


Maybe more news will roll in shortly, but hard to believe Vogelbach, Quintana, and Stratton are the only subtractions from the roster at the deadline. Really expected Gamel and Newman to be traded as well, and DFAs for VanMeter and Tsutsugo (though there’s still plenty of time for those)


My guess is there was zero market for Gamel and they decided they want to keep Newman.

I think they have an open spot on the 40-man, which I’m guessing goes to Bae. At least I hope it does.


Bae is on the IL now, so he will not be coming up soon. I also doubt Gamel had much interest. I like Gamel, but a 4th outfielder with no power is not the type teams are going to give you a huge return, or a prospect for. I doubt there was a lot of interest in Newman either. He has been hitting the cover off the ball for 3 weeks, but for most of the year he has been hurt, so not someone teams clamor to get unless they really need a shortstop because of injuries.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Reds taking a more Rays approach. Trading for all of the Top 100 SS’s they can. They’ve now acquired 3 within a week: Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, and now Spencer Steer (only on BA). That’s including they already had Elly De La Cruz on both lists, Matt McLain (only on Pipeline), and Jose Barrero (only on BA, graduated from Pipeline last year).

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

They just acquired another SS from Pads for Brandon Drury lol geez

Cape Cod Sean

Sure when you break it down like that. : )

Good stuff. Between that and the drafting still very much questions marks for BC. I’ve gone from can’t wait to here’s hoping. Maybe it should have been the latter all along.


Can’t imagine thinking that Bednar and Endy for Musgrove is a good outcome. Different strokes, different folks!


Overall value, only if Endy actually develops into an average or better starter.

Otherwise you’ve traded something you cannot easily acquire for assets you absolutely can. I sure as hell hope we’ve moved past the “6 years of 1-2 WAR players are worth more than 2 years of a star” balogna.


That has been Pirates Way for quite some time now.


The concept of “overall value” for me is a dangerous one. If you ask me whether I’d take 2 years of a 5-WAR player or 6 years of a 2-WAR player plus some lottery tickets, I’m taking the 5-WAR guy every damn time. This to me is the problem with most Pirate trades since Cole – even when they receive equal or greater nominal value back, it’s spaghettified. If you can’t concentrate those wins in a given season, you’re destined to perpetually play this game, climbing up a sand dune, trading stars for non-stars, whom you trade for bench players, who are either released or traded for lottery tickets.

I guess it’s worth mentioning that they didn’t win WITH Musgrove. Hell, they lost 93 games with Musgrove, Taillon (for 7 starts, anyway), Bell, Frazier, Newman (the one good year), Reynolds and Marte, plus a pretty good bullpen (he-who-shall-not-be-named, RichRod, Frankie, Kela, etc). So certainly let’s not pretend they should have kept the band together. Just, the execution.


Fangraphs’ write-up about Ben’s most recent trade (with the added interesting angle of being written by Ben Clemens who was/is a Cardinals fan):



My brain won’t allow me to consider the possibility that the Cardinals, of all teams, not only failed to get the most out of talented prospects but traded them within the Division only to see the Pirates, of all teams, turn them into productive big leaguers.

My goodness would this be sweet.

Last edited 15 days ago by NMR

That’s a really interesting read. It reassured my sense that this was a decent trade. But, if you haven’t already, read the comments from Cards fans. Interesting insight into how they view their team. It sounds like what NH aspired to be.


The Pirates could probably deal him at this point and get a similar return as the Musgrove trade — perhaps better.”

Have to make this happen. Love Bednar as much as anyone but his arm is going to fall off before this team gets a sniff of .500 again.


Any truth to the rumor that the Padres were looking at Yoshi Tsutsugo before deciding to invest in Juan Soto?

Just a wake-up call!

When a team DFA’s can they just make a list and indicate that all on the list are DFA’d, or do they have to do it individually? Trying to save you work, Ben


Would be fun to see what an Pirate alumni team would look like WAR wise at the end of the year (currently):

C Reese McGuire (.4)
1B Josh Bell (2.5)
2B Adam Frazier (.8)
SS Dee Gordon (-.3)
3B Josh Harrison (1)
OF Conner Joe (.6)
OF Harold Ramirez (1.6)
OF Marte (2.4)
DH Cutch (.2)

SP G Cole (2.6)
SP J Tallion (1.9)
SP J Musgrove (2.6)
SP C Morton (1.2)
SP J Lyles (1.6)
MRP T Hearn (.4)
MRP T Williams (.4)
MRP C Kuhl (.7)
MRP D Hudson (.8)
MRP J Chavez (.7)
SU Melancon (.6)
CL Holmes (1.1)


sh!t, i forgot Tyler Anderson’s 2.5 WAR on there


Tyler Anderson has a 2.5 WAR? Ok, that’s evidence that it isn’t our development, it’s just God laughing at us.


Anderson will keep on giving back through C, Carter Bins at AAA, and RHP Joaquin Tejada, 18 and carrying a 2.82 ERA, 10.1/4.8 K/BB/9 in the FCL.


Frazier was 2.9 fWAR with the Pirates when traded. He finished the year at 3.6 fWAR – thereby only 0.7 fWAR for SD? SD traded him to the Mariners before the 2022 season where he has played 102 games and is 0.8 fWAR with only 3 HR, and making $8 mil!.

The Pirates absolutely fleeced the Padres on the Frazier trade. Suwinski alone is 1.2 fWAR in only 72 MLB games. In 2022 Tucupita Marcano is 0.4 in 22 MLB games, .880 OPS at AA and .933 OPS in AAA. He is only 22. Michell Miliano, still only 22, is struggling at A+ with matching 11.6’s for BB/9 and K/9. I’m going to give him another 2 or 3 years before I start to worry about him.

Kudo’s to Musgrove and Taillon – they deserve the years that they are having in 2022. Endy Rodriguez is the real deal and needs to be on a faster track, LHP Omar Cruz is still only 23, Joaquin Tejada just turned 19 and is doing well in the FCL, and Bryce Wilson and Ricky DeVito for Rich Rod looks way out of balance in favor of the Pirates. I think Contreras, Yajure, Smith-Njigba, and Escotto from the Taillon trade will all make the majors and at least 2 of them will have long careers.

The Pirates traded guys who were hitting FA or getting too close, and have found some excellent players to build with. .


Endy needs to be in Altoona.


I guess if the owner allows only a 30m to 40m payroll than it makes sense to get rid of players who will command a large contract and get lousy players in return so you can keep within the limits allowed.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

My concerns are beginning to creep in. So far it hasn’t appeared that GMBC’s new regime has provided different results than previously.

There’s a chance they’ve found something on the pitching front, and although it’s still too early to tell, I think the future is going to hinge on pitching depth. I believe the health and progression of Roansy, Burrows, and Priester will determine the team’s near term fate.

I don’t think they’re developing hitters well. Then even though a lot of the previous scouts remained, it seems they’ve taken a step back. If you take these trades and then look at the 2020 draft, it isn’t pretty.

They’ve collected a glut of bench guys. And that’s in large part to they aren’t developing guys to reach or push their ceiling.

I really hope they plan on buying some hitting in off-season.


With their payroll the only hitters they can afford are more Yoshi’s and Vanmeters, etc.


A lot of these trades flip the winner and loser once development and future performance come into play… The Frazier and Stallings trades looked bad for us at the time, but since both players have fallen off a cliff, we look lucky to have gotten anything for them. I don’t think that reflects good trading skill on Cherington’s part, just good timing with Frazier and/or poor coaching from the Marlins hitting coaches. We still have almost no chance of getting an above average starter out of those trades, and both those players were above average starters at the time of their departure. Jury is still out, but Suwinski seems like a 4th OF, Marcano a bench util guy, and Nicolas/Scott/Thompson all fringe.

The Holmes trade feels like an opposite example: I thought it was a great trade at the time, as we were giving up a mediocre relief pitcher and getting two middle infielders who seemed to be on the rise. Is it the fault of Cherington’s negotiating skills that we were unable to develop Castillo or Park this year? Probably more the fault of his ability to build a good coaching/training pipeline in the system.

It’s disappointing that we haven’t appeared to have fixed the development issues that plagued Huntington and co, in terms of translating minor league talent to ML results. The only way this “quantity over quality” trade approach works is if your development team can facilitate breakouts from under-appreciated minor leaguers. While that may have happened with Endy and Roansy, that’s too low a hit rate for all of the talent we traded off, and the glut of AAAA starters and fringe-bench OFers seems more like a 40-man roster headache and less like a good way to generate above average ML regulars.


It’s disappointing that we haven’t appeared to have fixed the development issues that plagued Huntington and co, in terms of translating minor league talent to ML results. “

Is it more or less comforting if reality is actually that there simply wasn’t that much potential improvement to be made?

The Pirates experienced a handful of extremely high profile failures that were magnified by the fact that the owner is too cheap to cover them with outside acquisitions, but look around the league. Top prospects fail literally all the time! Struggling players go on to succeed elsewhere nearly as frequently!

The overwhelming majority of Pirate prospects to go elsewhere did no better than they did with their original club.

Of course improvement can always be made, but I’m afraid there isn’t some magic bullet here as was used to justify shit-canning the last crew.


Something I find interesting in thinking about the Marte trade is how our return compares to the other two Marte trades that followed . I think we did better than what the Dbacks did when they traded Marte to the Marlins. However, the Marlins may have come out the best in being able to acquire Luzardo from the A’s at the 2021 deadline. As Tim says, our trade of Marte may still end up looking very good if Peguero realizes his potential.

Regardless, though, this raises the question of why we had to trade Marte when we did, and if in general we’re sometimes too quick to trade a player who still has a couple of years left on his contract. Many of the players Ben has traded have had their values increase after he traded them–perhaps we could have enjoyed their play a while longer without getting a worse return. We’ll never know, but it’s something I wonder about whenever someone seems in a rush to trade a player.


This works both ways; they’ve inevitably held onto assets for too long as much if not more than cutting bait too soon.

Generally speaking, if you’re looking to maximize value then it should hurt when you trade the guy. Ain’t nobody was complaining about trading Bell cuz they did it when he sucked.


Josh Bell was the most egregious example of this. There should have been no rush to trade him, and he wasn’t exactly blocking any AAA talent that was knocking at the ML door. Why sell at the lowest possible value? I don’t believe the line of thinking that Eddy Yean was too good to pass up (and if he was, then what on earth does that say about our minor league pitching development??) I always felt like giving up on Bell after one poor pandemic-shortened season was criminally short sighted. He was and is a major talent who always demonstrated eagerness to adjust his approach and improve. They should have worked with that and upped his value so they could either get a bigger return, or sign him to an extension.


Bell wasn’t blocking AAA talent, but Hayes’ emergence did essentially force a move of either Moran or Bell, since neither one could play a defensive position other than 1B.

So he sold low on the guy who was clearly better but coming off a down year, I guess maybe in the expectation that Bell and Moran (who had a 113 wRC+ to Bell’s 77) would be roughly equivalent going forward.

That’s probably the best defense I could give BC, and it’s still doesn’t look great.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

See I thought if they were going to go for a “retool” then they should’ve traded Bell when they did Marte. The allure of Bell’s 1st half and the additional year of control should’ve brought back more. But Ben waited till he put up a complete dud that more emphasized his 2019 second half, and a year less of control.


The alt history where Matt Arnold is hired, actually does what Cherington said he’d do in getting more production out of the talent here, and then retooled in Brewers-like fashion is one that haunts me as a Pirate fan.


also man was I wrong on Joe Musgrove.

Developed into a legit #1 under Huntington AND has managed to hold up after severely struggling with health early in his career.

That extension is completely affordable for the Buccos and exactly what the big club needs.


I think it’s pretty clear Musgrove *wants* to pitch in SD. That’s his hometown. He’s most comfortable there. The Pirates could certainly afford it, but Musgrove wouldn’t sign that same deal here. Likely not St Louis, Chicago, Toronto, or many others places either.


Amazing how literally any time a free agent contract is brought up there’s some mitigating factor that means the Buccos just never had a shot.

Every. Single. Time.

What’re the chances!!


In this specific instance ayukish is probably right though. If Musgrove hits free agency and fields offers from all suitors he easily tops 5/100 either by getting a sixth year on the deal or upping the annual average on a five year deal. The fact that Musgrove signed an extension in his walk year after the all star break is more than enough evidence to me that he wanted to stay in San Diego. Good for him too even if he left money on the table. He’s still getting paid, he’s happy and he gets to have a lineup with Soto, Machado and Tatis when healthy backing him up when he takes the mound.


Once again, why are we re-writing history on Roansy Contreras?

Not a single person in the Pirates organization, or any other, saw him pitch between the start of the pandemic and when he suited up for the Pirates.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.


You know this, how? I can’t recall ever seeing anything written about them not seeing Roansy at all. Happy to eat Crowe (get it?), but I can’t for the life of me remember him being a complete shot in the dark as you imply.


It’s known history across the entire scouting community.

Yanks held Contreras out of the alt site and did not share data with other clubs.

His stuff popped between 2019 and when he debuted with the Pirates.

There was literally no other opportunity for any team outside of his own to see him over that period.

It’s okay! We get an awesome prospect who’s turned into a stud big leaguer! Just find it weird that we’re turning this into some scouting win.

Last edited 16 days ago by NMR

Then why would the Yankees trade him? Why would the Pirates trade for an unknown player? There had to be *some* info shared / scouting done.


“Contreras was one of many players in the minor leagues for whom 2020 was essentially a lost season. He was not invited to the Yankees’ alternate training site, and his addition to the 40-man roster meant he was not allowed to participate in the team’s instructional league program in the Dominican Republic.

In 2019, he was part of a talented group of pitchers—along with righties Luis MedinaAlexander VizcainoLuis Gil and Matt Sauer—who started the year at Low-A Charleston. Of that group, Contreras has the lowest ceiling but highest floor.”

Because the Yankees have a very deep farm system, constructed their alternate site roster with major league depth in mind, and did not have a Fall Instructional League in Florida, there are fewer new data- and video-based evaluations on their prospects this year than there are for other teams that had more prospects at the alt site and/or had scoutable instructs. So while Yajure was at the alt site and threw in a few big league games, Smith-Njigba, Contreras, and Escotto were not scouted in person last year, and Contreras did not generate pitch data. The Yankees did have some Fall/Winter activity in the Dominican Republic in which Escotto participated, but it wasn’t open to scouting. It appears Pittsburgh was willing to accept elevated risk here in exchange for a bigger package of quality prospects.”

“Part of the Jameson Taillon deal with New York, Contreras arrived to Pirates camp in 2021 with much more velocity than even Pittsburgh had anticipated, and he sat 95-98 mph throughout May and June, up about three ticks from his ’19 velocity with the Yankees.”





Ok, what’s everyone’s take on the Soto/Bell trade to SD?

On the surface, it appears SD won this trade just for the simple reason they get to slot Soto into the lineup next to Tatis and Machado for the next 2+ years.

Clearly SD will be one of the favorites to win the next 3 years with that roster of talent. And if they extend Soto, they very well could relegate the mighty Dodgers to a team playing for a WC spot for the foreseeable future.

Now if Soto doesn’t re-sign w/SD, AND SD doesn’t win a title with him, I could see the deal being a win for the Nats. But I very much doubt any of the players they got today will come close to moving the needle like Soto does.

It’s definitely a great day for SD fans and Dodgers haters, like me.


I know Soto is the next Ted Williams and all that. The list of people to put up his numbers at his age are all legends. I also understand that his career WAR is very likely to dwarf the combined WARs of every player he was traded for.

But Ted Williams wasn’t getting paid $600 M 20 years or whatever obscene contract Soto will sign. The Padres are definitely going to be paying for those wins, that has to diminish the overall value. I can’t imagine them not signing an extension after selling the farm. Just seems a huge risk to put on one person – life is unpredictable, injury happens, health issues happen. The game is so difficult, hitting is so difficult and today’s pitchers are so good, it’s possible he doesn’t perform as expected. He’s not exactly a great defender or playing a premium position, all his value comes from his bat. Then there’s the value from the prospects that were traded, one or more of those guys could pop and then your getting great value at an affordable price. I guess I’m just trained to always think prospect, I can’t imagine what it would be like for my team to have a player like Soto. I don’t think I’d have the stomach to make that trade if I were the Padres.

Last edited 16 days ago by clemo83

I initially thought it was a given that SD would do everything to extend him but I think it may be more likely that they just keep him the next three years to go all in on winning a WS (flags fly forever). Those three years line up very well with when much of their roster is expected to be in their prime years. If in ’24 they’re not in the thick of the race, then they can move Soto to recover some of the prospect value they just traded. If they are in the thick of things, then that likely means they get Soto for three legit WS runs and that seems worth the price.

As an aside, after the Pirates game last night I was watching MLB’s big inning where they cut into games and they showed a clip of Wil Myers and I said to my daughter that Myers is a great example of why the Padres were willing to part with several top prospects. Hassell and Wood look great, but no better than Myers did.


From a team perspective that sounds nice, I doubt that Soto would tolerate that. I know its not exactly the NBA in terms of player empowerment, but I think the stars still have plenty of leverage. I’d expect extension talk begin soon and if not then definitely during the offseason.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Good for the Padres, but they always seem to be the off-season and trade deadline darling. But then they always seem to somehow slip up.


As an anti-Dodger fan, yes I hate them too, it makes me wish I still lived in San Diego as I did in the early 1980s when the Padres were developing into the team that went to the World Series in 1984. Building a team that’s used to not winning into one that does is far more exciting than jumping onboard the bandwagon of perennial winners like the Dodgers. Going to games at the old Jack Murphy stadium with fans who hadn’t won before was exciting and great fun. I hope this trade pushes the Padres over the top and smashes the Dodgers into the dirt at least for a while.

I only wish the Padre success, being from a relatively small TV market share, could be seen as being a model for the Pirates but alas there’s no resemblance at all. The Padres have multiple owners who are all obscenely rich and more importantly dedicated to building a winning baseball team. The Pirates have…well everyone already knows.


As much as I like Josh Bell he was a replacement player, as noted. Further decreasing his value, especially to a team like the Pirates is his agent, Scott Boras. I still have nightmares of former Pirate/Boras players. The Nationals would’ve lost Bell to free agency, or grossly overpaid to keep him. Trading Bell was a win.


Good for Josh Bell and refreshing to see a GM and ownership going for the Brass Ring…

That’s assuming it actually gets done, as Hosmer is not playing nice…

Last edited 17 days ago by RAS TN

The team giving up the best player usually loses the deal.


Personally, at the time, I loved the Holmes deal. Getting ANYTHING for a guy who’d done nothing for us, to me was a steal. As for Taillon, coming off of a second TJ and STILL getting Roansy was, to me, awesome. And, may still be.

We definitely need some of these young guys to come thru. And that jury is still out and is looking to return ‘hung’.


I loved the Holmes deal, too. Oops!


Not bad negotiating, just another sign of bad pitching development. Clearly we need to be bringing in some coaches who can do whatever it is the Yankees (and Rays, and Astros, and Padres, and…) coaches seem to know how to do.


Not exactly. Holmes is pitching much as he hid for the Bucs: a mix of great and awful. FIP and xFIP tell a different story than ERA. If he keeps the sinker right at the bottom of the zone, he’s great. If he gets it up, it gets crushed. If he gets it too low, it gets taken. The Yanks do get credit for getting him to drop the curve and nearly drop the slider, but one-pitch pitchers show lots of variability.


jesus dude, did he steal your girl? you sound desperate.

Last edited 16 days ago by NMR

The Bucs were bad when Ben took over, now they’re worse.


Are you familiar with how a rebuilding works?


HA-HA… No explain it to me.


I don’t have a lot of confidence in Ben’s deals. It would be nicer if, all things being equaled, we could’ve kept most of these players. Even in the SD deal, I would rather have Musgrove than ANY of those players. Marte is still playing at a high level. But, of course, being that we can’t (don’t want to?) pay to keep anyone of value, we will be perennially screwed.


If Endy works out, the Musgrove deal can still look good. The sad thing, though, is that Musgrove’s extension is affordable even for the Pirates. I don’t expect them to ever sign someone for $200MM or higher but $100MM over five years is very doable. How much brighter would our future look if we had Musgrove at the top of the rotation?


Took the words out of my mouth!


Underwhelming his Pirate tenure so far.


Holmes has come back to earth hence the Yanks fortifying its pen (along with multiple injuries)


Ben sucks at trading.

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