It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for starting pitchers before the trade deadline. Rumors have them searching to the top and bottom of the market. Two names that have popped up on the radar recently are David Price and Jon Lester. Despite the reported interest, fans should not get too optimistic about this news.
The Pirates reported sent their two top scouts to watch a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. This game featured the top two pitchers reportedly on the trade market, Price and Lester. Both the Red Sox and Rays have very slim chances of making the playoffs, so it is likely that they will be sellers, hence the interest in Price and Lester. Just because they are on the market, there is no guarantee either will be traded this July.
It is obvious that both players are worthy of being traded to a contender like the Pirates, because they are two of the best pitchers in the game and would instantly give the Pirates one of the best rotations in the major leagues. But the question will always be how much of the future the Pirates should trade to get that immediate impact. It is a seller’s market, and the price will be even higher than usual. To get one of these pitchers, the Pirates would have to trade prospects such as Josh Bell, Nick Kingham and more. That would be for 1.5 years of Price and half of a season of Lester.
Other issues make this trade unrealistic. Price is owed tons of money through arbitration and the Pirates do not like to commit most of their budget to one player. As for Lester, he is a free agent at the end of the season and the Pirates have never traded top prospects for rentals in the past. In addition, the Rays could think that they are still in the playoff race and won’t trade Price. The Red Sox also want to sign Lester and would not want to trade him, risking that he could hit the open free agent market.
These just don’t seem like the trades the Pirates would ever make. They do not give up big chunks of their future to compete in the present and never will. They also do not take players with big money who could handicap their budget. These are the things trading for Price and Lester would do. So for those reasons, I think that expecting the Pirates to trade for Price or Lester is just an unrealistic pipe dream.