The Pittsburgh Pirates are making a push to break their 20-year stretch without a winning season. 10 games over the .500 mark, the Pirates should take the opportunity to make a couple of moves to enhance their roster for the long haul.
There are few trades made before July as teams like to wait until the market of buyers and sellers clarifies itself. I believe that a team like the Pirates should attempt to make an early move in order to gain more value from their acquisition. As the Colorado Rockies optioned Josh Rutledge back to Triple-A, he would be a perfect buy-low candidate for the Pirates, in both the short and long term.
Though the Pirates don’t have a hole at second base with hometown hero Neil Walker holding down the job, Rutledge could fill a gaping hole at shortstop. He is certainly a work in progress, with very below average numbers at short in 2012 and at second base in 2013, but his upside is significant.
Rutledge had eight home runs, 37 runs, and 37 RBIs in just 73 games. Replacement level at shortstop is remarkably low, and Rutledge’s bat would be a significant improvement over short-term stopgaps Clint Barmes and John McDonald.
The Rockies are suddenly in contention this season, and the Pirates have a myriad of pitching pieces that could intrigue the Rockies — if they were to move Rutledge. If the Rockies are content to roll with D.J. LeMahieu across from superstar SS Troy Tulowitzki, this could be a potential buy-low for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.