The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the midst of a miserable slide.
The team has lost 10 consecutive games and has dipped into embarrassing territory with a 23-44 overall record.
Pittsburgh wasn’t expected to contend this season, but they also weren’t expected to be this awful.
Now that things have gone from bad to worse, the organization needs to make some moves to show the fans that the current state of affairs will not be tolerated.
3. Trade Away All Expiring Contracts That Have Value
The Pirates have a handful of players who are set to hit free agency after the season, and they should trade as many of them away as possible.
Even Gregory Polanco—who has a club option for next season—should be dealt.
Here’s a list of all of the players the Pirates should trade as rentals to a contending team: Tyler Anderson (4.89 ERA in 13 starts), Chasen Shreve (1.88 ERA in 15 relief appearances), Sam Howard (2.45 ERA in 32 relief appearances) and of course the aforementioned Polanco (who is having a rough season with a .204 average and .612 OPS).
One of the moves I was most surprised by this offseason was when the Mets non-tendered Chasen Shreve after his great 2020 season. Looks like he hasn't missed a beat in Pittsburgh.
14.1 IP, 13 K, 1.88 ERA, 0.88 WHIP
— Ryan Finkelstein (@FinkelsteinRyan) June 18, 2021
There are a few other Pirates players who will hit free agency after the year, but none of the others have much value due to poor campaigns this season.
2. Trade Adam Frazier
Adam Frazier’s trade value is at an all-time high.
— Jim Bowden⭐️ (@JimBowdenGM) June 10, 2021
Frazier, 29, is playing the best baseball of his career this season.
He is batting .324 with an .844 OPS and 135 OPS+.
All of those numbers would mark career-bests if they hold.
Frazier has one year of arbitration remaining then will become a free agent after the 2022 season.
The non-rental element of a potential Frazier trade would increase his value a lot, so moving him seems like something that should be done this season and not next.
After all, it seems like a stretch to think the Pirates could be back to contending as soon as next year, so losing Frazier wouldn’t mean much.
1. Replace Almost The Entire Rotation
The other two moves on this list were very different from this one, as this idea actually involves adding players instead of unloading players.
Here’s the take: The Pirates owe it to their fans to replace nearly their entire rotation, and they need to do it right now.
JT Brubaker (3.88 ERA) and Tyler Anderson (4.89) have been serviceable, but it gets ugly after those two.
Mitch Keller (7.04 ERA), Trevor Cahill (6.57), Wil Crowe (6.75), and Chad Kuhl (6.52) have all spent considerable time in the rotation at some point this season, and most of them are still getting starts.
Those numbers are humiliating, and there’s no reason for Pirates fans to tune into games when that’s the product the organization is putting on the field.
This is not to say that the Pirates need to make any permanent rotation fixes while in the midst of a lost season, but they need to bring in some new faces to at least add some intrigue.
Even if it means signing some aging free-agent arms just to get through the remainder of the season, anything would be better than the current situation.
After all, the club has the money for some one-year deals—the Pirates have invested just $39.5 million in their current 26-man roster according to Spotrac.