There are a few interesting trade options available this offseason that should at least intrigue the Pittsburgh Pirates. Some are extremely likely to be traded, while others are probably going to stay with their current team. The player that is most likely to be traded this offseason is Tampa Bay Rays lefty David Price.
The Rays and Price have both come to accept the fact that their time together has probably come to an end. Price is approaching free agency, with just two years before he is eligible to sign with any team, and the Rays will not be able to sign him once he hits the open market. Trading their ace lefty would be very similar to what they did last offseason. The Rays were able to land top outfield prospect Wil Myers, pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis.
The Royals were desperate for starting pitching and they overpaid to get it. Nonetheless, the bar has been set extremely high in terms of what the Rays are expecting in return for great pitchers. If they were able to get that prospect haul for Shields, they will be able to get even more for Price. If the Pirates were to try and acquire Price, it would likely be a package starting with either top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon or top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco. It would also take two or three of the other top ten Pirates’ prospects.
For most teams, trading three or four top prospects for two years of control of an established, Cy Young award-winning left-handed starting pitcher would be a risk worth taking. For a small market team like the Bucs, it is playing with fire, essentially. The Pirates depend on having a top farm system; their inability to spend money like large market teams makes it vital to their success to keep a strong stable of prospects and young talent.
The Pirates would be smart to hit the trade market this offseason, but they should try to acquire good players — not Cy Young caliber players. The Pirates should definitely consider trading away some prospects if it involves them getting legitimate talent in return, but they should avoid trading any of their top five prospects.