The Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Angels reportedly had some trade discussions around the MLB trade deadline. According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Pirates were open to moving one of their young starting pitchers if it meant the Angels would be willing to part with first baseman Mark Trumbo.
Presumably, Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon were the two “young starting pitchers” the Pirates were discussing with the Angels. However, no specific names emerged after the trade deadline, so technically the Angels could have wanted a combination of some of the Pirates “second-tier” pitching prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Luis Heredia.
The most likely scenario is that it was either Cole or Taillon, and we can pretty much assume Cole isn’t going to be traded at this point. Cole had a great rookie season with the Bucs, going 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA. Taillon would probably be the biggest piece moved in a potential Trumbo deal involving the Pirates. Even if it is just Taillon, it is an extremely steep price to pay from the Pirates’ perspective. The Pirates have to rely on their prospects so much; trading them away almost seems counter-productive, even if they are getting an established All-Star caliber player like Trumbo.
Trumbo hits for a lot of power, but he doesn’t draw walks often and he strikes out more than one would like. In 2013, Trumbo hit for a .234/.294/.453 line with 34 home runs. Overall, his season was very much comparable to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
The great thing about trading for Trumbo is that he isn’t going to be eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season. The Pirates could either keep him around until he is a free agent or they could trade him at the trade deadline in 2017. Either way, it would be a risky move for the Pirates, and I’m not sure I would be comfortable with it as a Pirates fan. If the Bucs gave me the final say on whether a trade involving Taillon and Trumbo should happen, I would probably reject the idea, but it wouldn’t be an easy decision. The Pirates can’t trade a top prospect like Taillon unless they are getting a top-10 player in return.