To make a trade, or to not make a trade? That is the question.
Obviously, most fans will say the Pirates need to make a trade. There are quite a few holes in this club that could definitely use improving. However, making a trade isn’t as easy as saying, “Let’s go get this guy.” It takes two to tango. And at this time of the year, teams that are shopping players around have a lot of dance suitors.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that the Pirates should not trade any of their top level prospects (Taillon, Allie, Marte, etc.) for anyone. Remember, winning in 2011 isn’t the goal. Winning every year is the goal. There are many reasons why the Rays are still playing meaningful baseball 3 years after bursting onto the scene in 2008. One of those reasons is they have not sacrificed players who can help them down the road for short-term Major League help.
So if the Pirates are unwilling to move top level prospects, as they should be, what can be done to make a move. If you’ve been following Twitter today, you have witnessed some intense debates about what can or can not be done. Some believe the Pirates front office needs to join the team’s fans by shelling out cash for the players they need. This is a good thing, if it is possible. Let’s look at some possible big time trade candidates, though.
The Mets have made it known that they are willing to eat salary when it comes to Carlos Beltran, who is owed about $6 million the remainder of the season. Beltran is the hottest commodity on the market right now and just about every team that is a contender has inquired on him. If other teams are willing to deal top prospects for 2 months of Beltran, and the Mets are looking for just that instead of salary relief, the Bucs can’t compete with the other clubs.
When it comes to Hunter Pence, he would probably demand more of a haul than Beltran in that he is still under team control until 2013. Houston simply won’t take money for Pence because they don’t need money for Pence. They need players, and they will be good ones. So the question is, do you trade someone like Jose Tabata, who would HAVE to be included in a deal that would bring back Pence? One could argue (I won’t) that trading Tabata for 2 years and 2 months of Pence may actually be worth it. If Pence is acquired, that will be over $20 sunk into one player over the next 2 years where Tabata over those 2 years would cost less than $1 million over that timespan. Is it really worth $19 million+ for the Pirates to have Pence for 2 years than Tabata for those same 2 years? That’s $19 million that can go towards other things that would provide more value (like extending ‘Cutch for example). Pence is out of the question.
We could go on and on with these examples. But the truth is that if the Pirates are going to be able to offer salary relief and C to D level prospects for players, the return will not be enormous. That doesn’t mean, though, that upgrades can not be made. Someone like Carlos Pena, who is also owed a significant amount of money over the rest of the season is the type of player the Bucs will have a chance at getting. However, don’t expect anything like that to happen until July 31st as the Cubs will attempt to gauge the market interest and maximize his value.