FanPost

Braves Trade Deadline Targets: Pittsburgh Pirates

With the Trade Deadline just a few days away, I've decided to go team by team to look at some trades that could make sense for the Braves. Let me know in the comments below what you think.

Pittsburgh Pirates(40-59, 0.0% Playoff Odds)

The Pittsburgh Pirates are deep into a multi-year rebuild, but things could be looking up for them in the next couple years with young studs like O'neil Cruz, Ke'Bryan Hayes, and more. They also have a number of veterans that are most likely on the trading block that will draw massive interest for contenders like the Braves.

Braves Get: OF Bryan Reynolds

Pirates Get: SP Ian Anderson, SS Vaughn Grissom, SP Kyle Muller, SP Tucker Davidson, and OF Jesse Franklin V

Now, I'm not sure that this trade is worth it for the Braves, but Bryan Reynolds will cost a LOT because of his 3 years of control, and honestly I wouldn't be completely surprised if the Pirates wanted more then this. Bryan Reynolds is a 27 year old switch hitting outfielder that has slashed .283/.362/.483/.845, with a 126 wRC+, and 10.9 fWAR over 4 seasons. Reynolds started the season hitting .212 over the first 2 months, but since June 1, Reynolds is hitting .305, with 8 HR, and 20 RBI. Reynolds isn't the greatest defensive outfielder, but he would easily fill the left field hole, plus arguably his best defensive position is left where he has 7 career DRS. Getting Reynolds will be hard as the Pirates already asked for a Marlins trade that included Max Meyer(#20 in MLB) and Kahlil Watson(#49 in MLB), then wanted a Mariners package that started with Julio Rodriguez. But with Ian Anderson a part of the trade, plus 4 top 8 prospects in the Braves system, I think this is an offer they couldn't refuse.

I talked about Anderson and Franklin yesterday in the Athletics trade article, but I think Anderson would easily slide into the middle of Pittsburgh's rotation, especially since their No. 1 starter Jose Quintana will most likely be traded. Vaughn Grissom who is the Braves No. 4 prospect per MLB.com would be the guy I would most hate to trade, but someone I think we would have to give up for someone like Reynolds. Grissom has raked in every level he's been in, which earned him a promotion to AA where he is hitting .370/.426/.580/1.006 over 12 games, with 2 bombs, and he's already stolen 5 bases to bring his total for the year up to 25. Grissom I really think could be a legitimate 25-25 player with the potential to get up to 30-30. The only thing about this is that the Pirates already have Cruz at SS and Hayes at 3rd, so he would probably have to play 2nd if he broke into the majors.

Kyle Muller(No. 1) and Tucker Davidson(No. 5) are two very similar prospects that have already pitched in the majors, but haven't had much success at the highest level mainly due to control issues. Muller is a southpaw that has one of the best fastballs in the minor leagues that can reach 97 and has high spin rates. His mid-80s slider also projects as a plus pitch that gets a lot of whiffs, while his curveball gets a lot of swings-and-misses though he has less control of it, he also has a changeup but doesn't throw it much. This year in AAA, he's greatly improved his command though walking only 2.48/9, while increasing his strikeouts to a career high 11.16/9 and only having a 2.96 ERA. Tucker Davidson is another lefty that has had a cup of coffee in the majors but not stayed long because of command issues. Davidson also has four pitches with a fastball that touches 96, an upper-70s curveball, and a mid-80s changeup. His best pitch I'd say though is his slider that he developed in 2020, which has given him another swing and miss pitch and fangraphs rates it as a 60 grade pitch. Both of these guys could find their way into the Pirates rotation and it's kind of funny to think that if this trade was made, 4 former Braves could be in the Pirates rotation in Anderson, Bryce Wilson, Muller, and Davidson.

Braves Get: RP David Bednar

Pirates Get: SP Kyle Muller, SP Tucker Davidson, OF Jesse Franklin V, SP Freddy Tarnok, and 3B Justyn Henry Malloy

David Bednar may be the best reliever on the market right now and rightfully so as since last year he's combined for 20 SV, a 2.25 ERA, and 138 SO over 116.1 IP. Bednar is different then most closers because he can cover multiple innings while most closers just go one. But what makes Bednar a difficult guy to trade for is that he doesn't become a free agent until 2026, so the trade package the Pirates will command could be huge, which makes it even tougher for a Braves team with so little prospect capitol, but I did my best.

Like I said in the Brian Reynolds trade, Muller and Davidson I think would be 2 really great guys to trade to Pittsburgh because they don't have a whole lot of left handed pitching depth, but along with them, I added Franklin, Freddy Tarnok, and Justyn Henry Malloy. Tarnok is the No. 6 prospect in the Braves system and I think has the chance to be a really special player in the majors, as he might have been the most improved player in the Braves system after the 2020 season. His rising fastball is his best pitch that started in the low 90s and has improved to an easy 95-96, he also has a plus curveball and slider, with an average changeup. After pitching well in AA to start the season, Tarnok got promoted to AAA where he has a 3.38 ERA over 10.2 IP. Justyn Henry Malloy is just kind of an add on to increase the Pirates 1B depth as its one of the thinnest positions in the Pirates system. Malloy has actually hit really well though since being drafted in the 6th round in last year's draft. After hitting .270 with an .822 OPS and 5 HR over 37 G in A last year, he's hit .297, with a .880 OPS, and 12 HR, over 83 games in A+ and AA. He's mostly played 3B and LF over his career but because he doesn't have much speed and hasn't played very well defensively, I think he could make his way to first base which would be very valuable to the Pirates as like I said they don't have much depth there.

Braves Get: OF Ben Gamel and SP Jose Quintana

Pirates Get: SP Royber Salinas and RP William Woods

This trade would make a lot of sense for the Braves as they would get some outfield depth in Ben Gamel and then a backend starter in Jose Quintana who has actually performed pretty well this year and could provide some stability after Anderson's struggles and Morton's inconsistency. Both these guys are also rentals so if the Braves went along with a trade like this, I don't think it would cost much unlike the two trades I mentioned above.

Ben Gamel is a 30 year old lefty that would probably split time with Eddie Rosario and has had a solid season at the plate this season on his free agent year. This season he is slashing .241/.335/.369/.704, with a 103 wRC+, while also walking 12% of the time. If you just wanted Gamel, I think the price would just be one of the Salinas and Woods. Jose Quintana is also on the last year of his contract and is having his best season since 2019 and would be a whole lot cheaper then some of the top starters in Frankie Montas or Luis Castillo. Quintana has a ERA/xERA/FIP/xFIP slashline of 3.70/4.18/3.27/3.76 over 97.1 IP, so he could just be a guy who could eat valuable innings for Atlanta and then in the postseason could pitch out of the bullpen if they wanted.

The prospect package I think the Pirates would accept are righties Royber Salinas and William Woods, if the market for Quintana is really hot though I could see them giving up someone like Huascar Ynoa if they had too though. Salinas, the Braves No. 27 prospect has been really impressive in A and A+ pitching to a 3.55 ERA with a whopping 133 SO over 78.2 IP, though he has walked 44. He is led by a really big fastball that touches 98-99 that Fangraphs rates a plus plus pitch, he also has a slider that gets lots of whiffs, along with a good curveball and changeup. William Woods is our 18th ranked prospect per MLB.com and is another guy that has a big fastball along with a projected plus slider that could make him a filthly reliever in the majors. Both of these guys will have to refine their command, but I think Pittsburgh would really like the two, especially since Woods would be major league ready out of the gate.

Others

One guy the Braves might have some interest as just some infield depth would be Kevin Newman. Newman doesn't really do anything at the plate and is just slashing .262/.319/.383/.701, with no home runs, but he does have some defensive value as he can play 2nd and shortstop, and had 6 DRS last season, he is also controllable until 2024. This trade would take next to nothing prospects wise and would be nothing but a depth move for some added defense at 2nd base.

Some other cheap relievers include RHP Wil Crowe(3.31/3.37/3.24/4.05, 51.2 IP, FA: 2027), RHP Duane Underwood Jr.(4.00/3.38/2.38/3.42, 27.0 IP, FA: 2026), and RHP Chris Stratton(5.17/4.53/3.64/3.80, 38.1 IP, FA: 2023). None of these guys should cost much, and all of these guys are having the first good year of their careers, but out of the three, I'd lean toward Wil Crowe as his underlying numbers look a bit better and he has more control.

Let me know what you think below!

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