The Pittsburgh Pirates are suffering their longest losing streak in two seasons and are starting to fall out of the playoff race. The team needs to turn things around quickly if they want to play in October. The Pirates need a spark, and that spark could be provided by Michael Cuddyer.
Many would argue that the Pirates’ biggest issue is pitching; and that is true, but they have Gerrit Cole coming back on Wednesday and they have more options they could try from triple-A. Cuddyer is a player they don’t have in their minor league system. He is a proven major league hitter with a ton of playoff experience. He would be incredibly valuable to the Pirates.
Cuddyer was not available at the July 31 trade deadline because of injury, and this makes him a perfect candidate for a waiver trade. The Colorado Rockies are not in contention, and Cuddyer is an impending free agent, so they will be trying to move him. Cuddyer can play first base, third base and right field, all areas the Pirates could use a better bat. He would be a clear upgrade offensively at the first base position, he would be a defensive upgrade at third base and if Gregory Polanco continues struggling against lefties, he could also platoon in that spot. Cuddyer would also improve a pathetic Pirates bench if he did not play every day or pushed another starter to the bench.
Looking closer at Cuddyer, you can see he has a great bat for his age. He hit for the cycle on Sunday, and in his limited time this season, he is hitting .331 with an OPS of .922. That would qualify as the second best hitter on the Pirates’ roster. That bat could be inserted into the cleanup spot in the Pirates’ lineup and provide a similar impact as Marlon Byrd did last season.
The Rockies also have more that they could offer the Pirates. They have LaTroy Hawkins in their bullpen that they would love to get something of value for. They also have Jorge De La Rosa in their rotation that they were interested in moving before the July 31 deadline. So the Pirates could kill two birds with one stone, adding Cuddyer and a pitcher in the same deal.
The Pirates’ season is on the ropes, and they need to make some type of change to get them back into the fight for the playoffs. No one in their minor leagues is going to provide that type of spark, so they need to look outside of the organization with the Rockies looking like the best option. So if the Pirates want that spark and Cuddyer comes across the waiver wire, they should do their best to add him to the team.