The Pittsburgh Pirates failing to improve their team at the trade deadline this past Thursday was disappointing. Even more disappointing news came to light when it was learned that Andrew McCutchen would be placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury. A big trade is now needed more than ever. Even though it is August, trades can still happen by placing players on waivers. This is a strategy the Pirates used last year to improve their club and something they need to use this season.
Last year, the Pirates were able to add Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Justin Morneau via waiver trades. This season, there are several players who can help the Pirates on waivers, but the team needs to make more than just one of those small trades. They need to make a trade similar to the blockbuster between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox a few seasons ago involving Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. And the perfect team on the market to make this trade with would be the Philadelphia Phillies.
It’s not like the Pirates to go all-in with their trades, but this year seems to have changed that mentality. The team was interested in aces David Price and Jon Lester, and they nearly landed them both. One ace who was placed on waivers Monday was Cole Hamels. If the Pirates were interested in Price and Lester, why wouldn’t they be interested in Hamels?
Hamels is due a lot of money until 2019 which is not something the Pirates cannot afford, but there is another option. The Pirates can flip Hamels in the offseason for more top tier prospects, in essence, renting Hamels for basically nothing. This is the same strategy the Pirates were going to use with Price and they should consider it with Hamels.
Hamels doesn’t even have to be the only player involved in the deal. The Pirates have shown interest in Byrd again this season, and he was placed on waivers Monday as well. The need for his services has grown after McCutchen’s injury. Going even farther beyond that, the Pirates also showed interest in Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies put him on waivers Saturday as well. The Pirates could possibly put together a blockbuster with the Phillies that makes them the favorites in the National League and allows the Phillies to replenish their weak farm system.
A lot of things would have to come together for this blockbuster to work. All or some of these players would have to reach the Pirates on waivers or clear waivers, the Pirates would have to claim these players on waivers and both teams would have to agree on a trade within three days. The latter is no easy task, especially with what the Phillies were reportedly asking for their players. It might be a small possibility that this actually comes together, but because it makes so much sense for both teams it has to be considered as a possibility.