Pittsburgh Pirates: 9 Outside-the-Box Trade Ideas for the Pirates

Allan SmithContributor IIIJune 27, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates: 9 Outside-the-Box Trade Ideas for the Pirates

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    Even though the Pirates' offense is 29th in runs scored, batting average and OPS while ranking dead last in OBP, the Bucs are just two and a half games behind the first place Reds.

    In order to keep up this level of play as well as leaping the Reds by the end of the season, the Pirates are going to have to go out and get a bat, preferably one that could play right field or first base.

    Yet, with the addition of the second wild-card spot, more teams will be closer to a playoff spot come July 31st. This means there will be very few sellers this shopping season, and three potential sellers, the Cubs, Astros, and Brewers, reside in the Pirates' division. Even though Houston leaves for the AL next year, it is traditionally taboo to trade within the division mid-season.

    With so few sellers, there will be more "baseball" trades made instead of the usual selling of rental players.

    With this in mind, I've come up with a list of offers the Pirates should consider.

Travis Snider for Jeff Locke

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    This would be a swap of two players performing very well at AAA but not being given an opportunity in the show.

    Snider is batting over .320 with an OPS over one for the Jays' AAA affiliate in Las Vegas, while Locke has a 3.27 ERA with a 72/18 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings for the Indianapolis Indians.

    Locke would be able to fill a void in the injury-depleted Blue Jay rotation while Snider could step in and play RF while providing some much-needed power.

    Lineup:

    LF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    RF: Snider

    3B: Alvarez

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Cody Ross for Rudy Owens and Kyle McPherson

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    Cody Ross is having a great season in Boston, taking over the cleanup role on a team that is full of star players. Yet, once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return from injuries, which will be soon, Ross will become expendable for the Sox who need pitching help.

    Enter Rudy Owens and Kyle McPherson, two pitchers stuck in AAA due to the Bucs strong pitching depth.

    Owens has been sensational with a 2.51 ERA in a bounce-back year, whereas McPherson, the Pirates 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, is making his season debut this Saturday returning from injury. Both of these players are capable of filling slots in the Sox rotation left by Clay Bucholz and Josh Beckett.

    Lineup:

    LF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    3B: Alvarez

    RF: Ross

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Josh Willingham for Jeff Locke, Aaron Pribanic, and Jordy Mercer

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    The Twins are clearly not going to be competing this year, and as a result, will become one of the few selling teams come deadline day. One of their best trade chips, Josh Willingham, would fit perfectly in the heart of the Pirates lineup.

    Just last week, Willingham crushed a homer off of stingy reliever Jason Grilli, showing that he has the power needed to hit the long ball out to left field at PNC, the most difficult part of the park for hitters.

    In return, the Twins would receive Locke, who could provide instant help to one of baseball's most horrendous rotations, along with a younger pitching prospect in Pribanic. Add in Jordy Mercer to provide some infield depth with the potential to start as soon as next season at either second or short, and you have a pretty fair deal for one of the best rental players available on the market.

    Lineup:

    LF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    3B: Alvarez

    RF: Willingham

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Josh Reddick for Luis Heredia, Jose Tabata, and Bryan Morris

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    Here's where I'm starting to get a little creative.

    The Athletics received Josh Reddick in the Andrew Bailey deal and so far, he has exceeded what anyone thought was possible for him. He has displayed power that he hadn't displayed at any other point in his career, and the fact that he is doing it in Oakland, one of the toughest places to hit in the big leagues, proves that he is for real. Put him at right in PNC, and his homer totals have the potential to rise even more.

    In return for the young, controllable slugger, the A's would receive Luis Heredia, the 4th best pitcher in the Pirates' system behind Cole, Taillon and Appel if he signs. Heredia at just 17 years of age is progressing through the minor leagues and could legitimately compete for a rotation spot by the time he is 20.

    In addition to Heredia, the centerpiece of the deal, the A's would receive Jose Tabata, who just doesn't seem to fit in with the Pirates. Yet he is still young and displays his potential on occasions such as Monday against the Phillies where he crushed an opposite field home run.

    Once he figures out a swing that enables him to pull the ball hard to left as well as go the opposite way (his go-to), he will become a very good starting outfielder, capable of a 20-20 season.

    Finally, the A's would also receive a nice bullpen piece in Bryan Morris, the last remaining player from the Jason Bay deal. Morris has been pitching well since he was converted to a reliever and was just recently briefly promoted for the big leagues for last weekend's series vs. the Tigers.

    Lineup:

    LF: Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    RF: Reddick

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    3B: Alvarez

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Yoenis Cespedes for Starling Marte

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    One of the biggest shockers of the offseason was the A's signing Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year 30 million dollar deal. But, as the baseball world is well aware of, no one likes to wheel and deal more than A's GM Billy Beane.

    With that in mind, the Pirates should offer top-prospect Starling Marte in return for Cespedes. Realistically, the A's will not be competitive in Cespedes' time in Oakland while the Rangers and Angels have stacked teams.

    It would be worthwhile for them to flip a few years of Cespedes for seven or eight years of one of baseball's top prospects in Marte, who is essentially blocked at the big league level by Andrew McCutchen, who won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

    Lineup:

    LF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    RF: Cespedes

    3B: Alvarez

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Logan Morrison for Jose Tabata and Chase D'Arnaud

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    Morrison for Tabata and D'Arnaud would be a swap of players who all clearly need a new start. Tabata would be able to thrive under less pressure in Miami while Morrison clearly has been at ends with the fish, since he was nearly traded due to comments on Twitter.

    D'Arnaud was recently leaped by Mercer in the system and has Alen Hanson coming up fast behind him. He won't get another shot with the Bucs and would likely be able to improve given a chance to be a utility infielder for the fish, potentially earning the second base job once Omar Infante's days are done.

    Lineup:

    LF: Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    3B: Alvarez

    RF: Morrison

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Carlos Quentin for Brad Lincoln and Bryan Morris

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    The Padres, another team clearly about to unload some players, have an intriguing piece in Carlos Quentin. Since returning from injury, Quentin has been mashing the ball. Quite the accomplishment for a player stuck out in San Diego in a spacious ballpark with little offensive help in the lineup.

    In exchange for Quentin, the friars would receive Brad Lincoln, who was recently sent to the bullpen by the Bucs after he pitched a two hitter vs. the Tigers. Lincoln has the ability to take on a late-inning set-up role, or be a team's third starter on command. Throw in another valuable bullpen piece in Morris, and I believe this deal could get done.

    Lineup:

    LF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    RF: Quentin

    3B: Alvarez

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Todd Helton for Kevin Correia and Kyle McPherson

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    The Rockies need pitching. Period. The worst starting staff in baseball could use a guy like Kevin Correia, who has been both good and bad at times this year, yet would be better than the consistently bad members of the Colorado rotation.

    Kyle McPherson would be another guy who the Rockies could groom a little in AAA before bringing him into the mix, adding another option to the depleted staff, who doesn't only need help this year but for years to come.

    Helton would provide the Pirates with good defense at first. He is a veteran presence who has been to the World Series before and a clutch bat to stick between McCutchen and Alvarez. If Helton is willing to waive his no-trade clause to play for a contender, this would be a good move for the Bucs to make.

    Lineup:

    LF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    1B: Helton

    3B: Alvarez

    RF: Jones

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes

Carlos Gonzalez for Luis Heredia, Starling Marte, and Kevin Correia

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    Here is the deal that would launch the Pirates into serious contention.

    Carlos Gonzalez is one of the top players in baseball and is on a team-friendly long term deal, providing the Pirates with a player who would be here for years to come.

    But why would Colorado want to give up such a player? Well, because they don't appear to be winning any time soon, even with superstars Troy Tulowitzki and CarGo.

    The Rockies would recieve Correia, as in the Helton deal, as well as top-prospects Starling Marte and Luis Heredia. Both players would make an impact for the Rockies for years to come. Marte has the defensive abilities and speed to be an effective center fielder in massive Coors Field, while Heredia will develop into the power pitcher that the Rockies sorely lack.

    While the Pirates would certainly win in the short run and Rockies fans would likely be outraged, this deal could provide great dividends for the Rockies in the future.

    Lineup:

    RF: Tabata/Presley

    2B: Walker

    CF: McCutchen

    LF: Gonzalez

    1B: Jones/McGehee

    3B: Alvarez

    C: Barajas

    SS: Barmes