Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that an AL club official believes the Pittsburgh Pirates will attempt to trade an arm or two from their surplus of relief pitchers. Sawchik specifically mentions right-handed pitchers Jeanmar Gomez, Vin Mazzaro and Bryan Morris as possibilities to be moved because they are all out of options.
The news that the Pirates may try to move a bullpen arm shouldn’t come as a huge surprise — the Pirates and GM Neal Huntington have done great work when trading relief pitchers. Last offseason, the Pirates traded former All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox for 2013 All-Star Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus Jr.
A few years ago, the Pirates were able to trade Octavio Dotel to the Los Angeles Dodgers for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo. McDonald would go on to have a great half season with the Pirates in 2012 before collapsing in the second half. He never returned to his first-half form and was eventually be designated for assignment.
If the Pirates were to also explore trading some of their better bullpen pieces — closer Jason Grilli, Melancon and power lefties Tony Watson and Justin Wilson — it would make sense if they are able to get a significant return.
Huntington has shown an ability to create makeshift bullpens very cheaply, and pitching coach Ray Searage is very good with reviving pitchers’ careers. The Pirates could choose to sign a few buy-low options and hope that Searage can fix them. With some of the contracts that guys like Joe Smith and Edward Mujica are getting on the free agent market, teams would surely give up something significant to acquire a lefty like Watson or Wilson.