So the confusing trade deadline has come and gone. Time to start dissecting.
Melancon probably had to go. And the Pirates got a decent return in my opinion. Felipe Rivero throws hard, without control problems, is left handed, and has five years of control. Add in a young A ball pitcher who also appears to have strike out potential with no real control problems, and it probably makes sense. The Pirates did draft Taylor in 2012 so it is not the first time the Pirates have shown interest. Call it a good trade.
The Pirates got Ivan Nova for a player to be named later. Nova is just a rental and probably won’t be a big name going back to the Yanks in return. As long as that is true this is a good trade. The Pirates need a starter and Nova fits the bill. Not great but a reasonable trade.
The Pirates returned Jon Niese and got Antonio Bastardo back. Both guys are doing worse this year than last, but I have a ton more confidence in Bastardo than Niese, especially coming out of the pen. This means horrible things for the Walker trade, but forgetting Walker this trade is great. It is a good one for the Pirates who need late inning help not long inning hope.
The Liriano, Ramirez, McGuire trade for Drew Hutchison is a baffler. Liriano was awful this year. I guess Hutchison would be better, but he has not exactly set the world on fire. He is a great deal cheaper. Harold Ramirez is a good talent, but admittedly blocked a great deal in Pittsburgh. Many have him in the top 10 (I think he is just outside, but whatever). Yet, he is still behind Polanco, Marte, and McCutchen. And even when he is ranked in the top 10 prospects he is behind Meadows. The Pirates also have Willy Garcia, who is not doing great this year, but I list him to show the Pirates have quite a bit of depth in the outfield in the minors. Remember also that the Pirates have tried Hansen, and Osuna in the outfield too. I could live with this trade if that was all it did. Somehow this includes Reese McGuire. Now McGuire only hits about .250, but his defense is great. The Pirates did re-sign Stewart and Cervelli, but this trade means they have a great deal of confidence in Elias Diaz. Hutchinson is not worth McGuire too. This is a bad trade for the Pirates.
Now that said, I think the Pirates have given themselves a great improvement for next year. The bullpen next year now has Watson, Hughes, Bastardo, and Rivero. I think Caminero might be back and the Pirates have enough talent to fill the long man position without any trouble. They have saved some money with the Liriano trade to go and get a decent name to fill in that extra hole to make a great bullpen. McGuire was a not going to be on next year’s team so that hit will come later and neither was Ramirez. They don’t have to go to arbitration with Hutchison, but can if they think it helps. They have also opened a spot up for these young guns to go grab.
I think the best part of the deal is that it should save people like Glasnow and Brault. They would struggle a bit at the majors. Now they can go back to Indy and develop as they need to do. Glasnow can work on that change rather than try to help the Pirates win a pennant and be ready for next year. Brault can too.
The Pirates are not dead in the water for this year now either. They have an improved pen with Rivero and Bastardo. They have an improved rotation with Cole, Taillon, Nova, and Hutchison. The fifth spot can be up for grabs, but I would prefer to see the returning Chad Kuhl take the slot. Although I suspect we see Vogelsong a bit. Either way, it seems better without Liriano and with Nova. Time will tell how bad the Liriano weirdness turns out to be for the Pirates, but the other trades look good to me.