I'm lucky enough to have a good friend that follows baseball just as much as I do, so we are constantly talking hot topics. This time of year is fun because this is where good teams add pieces while bad teams start thinking about next year. As expected the Pirates are poised for another playoff push which makes them a buyer.
I don't really expect the Pirates to make many splashy moves as they seem pretty set at most of the premium positions (barring injuries). The emergence of Gerrit Cole has been huge. Premium starting pitching costs a crazy amount at the deadline. Look at what the A's had to give up last year. My biggest request for the Pirates is to cut ties with someone who was once considered a main piece of the "core."
My hope is the Pirates somehow cut ties with Pedro Alvarez. I never thought I would say that, but his regression into a below average player has been rough to watch. He went from being a franchise cornerstone to a marginal one dimensional player in about two years.
In 2013 he had a career year hitting 36 homeruns and playing about a league average third base. The wheels started to come off some last season when he began to have throwing issues. The Pirates finally had to pull the plug on him and use him as a pinch hitter as they couldn't afford to run him out there in the middle of a playoff push.
This season the Pirates came into spring with the idea that Pedro was going to play first. As a Pirate fan this seemed like a reasonable transition as Pedro has good hands and the power plays at any position. You can take a reasonable amount of bad defense when someone is capable of hitting 30 homeruns.
At this point it would be an understatement to say the transition has been a disappointment. You expect growing pains as 3+ months is not a huge sample size, but their are huge red flags. The throwing issues continue to plague him and his footwork has been terrible. So far this season he has been tagged for 9 errors which really doesn't even paint the picture of how bad he has actually been. By most advanced metrics Pedro has been the second worst defensive player in baseball behind Hanley Ramirez attempting to play outfield in Boston. The Pirates have to be disappointed because this spring they said the transition to first would ease his stress level which should help his hitting.
Most Pirate fans are rightfully a little gun shy on shipping players off without getting much in return. Letting go of Jose Bautista can do that to you. Personally I think it is apples and oranges. Pedro is so bad defensively I don't think he can ever regain any trade value. Even in his best season he was worth around 3 WAR and that was with him playing average defense. He is a one tool player. His best comparables are guys like Mark Trumbo and Mark Reynolds. Hard to see a future for Pedro that doesn't involve being a platoon DH in the AL.
As of now the long term solution is having Josh Bell be the first baseman, but that is not going to happen this year. The Pirates are in a rough spot, but I feel the bold move is needed. Pedro's bat is not good enough right now to warrant the terrible defense. We are too good of a team for him to workout his issues in a game.
The hard part is determining the trade market and to what extreme the Pirates explore it. In terms of rumors their hasn't been much with the Pirates. If history says anything the Pirates won't make a splashy move, so my money is they find a natural first baseman on a cheap or expiring contract to limit the prospect cost.
End of rant.
Love to hear other peoples thoughts on your chosen teams needs.