Braves and Pirates Hypothetical Trades

2017 Topps Opening Day #157 Gregory Polanco Baseball Card - Pittsburgh  Pirates

Today’s post, “Braves and Pirates Hypothetical Trades”, is part 11 in our series focusing on teams that could be sellers or have some expiring contracts that could be attractive options for the Braves. If you’re just catching up, here are the previous 10 pieces:

Those poor Pirates. I mean, what do you do when you’re the worst team in the majors, have little to no money, have a farm that’s middle of the pack, and will likely not have much income for the 2021 season. You sell. You definitely sell.

Unfortunately, the Pirates don’t really have much left to sell. The talent pool is more like a kiddie pool and won’t bring back much in return. However, the Pirates need bodies and if there ever was a team that would take a chance on lottery tickets with team control, the Pirates are that team. They’ve already sold low on Josh Bell and I don’t expect it to stop there.

Trade Value of Colin Moran

Colin Moran is not a perfect player. His defense is a little below average. His sprint speed might compete, sloth-like. However, what he does well is hit the ball HARD, especially against RHP. His exit velocity ranks in the 89th percentile. His hard hit % in the 86th percentile. The one reason that he’s not gotten elite production might be due to his launch angle. Marcell Ozuna was in that same boat before he came to the Braves in 2020. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we as Braves fans seriously undervalue Kevin Seitzer. If Moran came to the Braves and could add 4.5 degrees of lift to the ball, look out. His trade value is $5.1MM

Trade Value of Gregory Polanco

Polanco has always been a case of the what-ifs. Even before the shoulder injury, he was mostly potential and lesser production. However, poor arm and all, Polanco was fine in the OF in 2020, but not fine at the plate. His K-rate spiked, his BABIP plummeted, and he was very, very bad. However, his exit velo and hard hit % skyrocketed to the 95th and 93rd percentile. There might be nothing there, but if nothing is the cost? His trade value is -$13.5MM

Trade Value of Richard Rodriguez

In 2020, Rodriguez did what a lot of pitchers have done recently and that is to increase the usage of offspeed, decrease the usage of the fastball, and consolidate pitches to increase effectiveness. It worked as both his cutter and fastball graded out well and while it could be the small sample of a 60-game season, his K-rate soared, and walk rate plummeted. His trade value comes in at $2MM.

Fake Trade Number 1

Breakdown: As stated before, the Pirates should be the kind of team that is able to utilize and test out lottery tickets. Both guys above have 1st round draft pick pedigree and need a regular opportunity at the bigs.

Fake Trade Number 2

Breakdown: Braves get rid of Ender’s salary and grab Polanco to see if they can fix him. If they can’t, no big deal as it just cost them Ender’s dead $ anyway. Newcomb gets a fresh start in an org that should have a little more patience with his ups and downs.

Fake Trade Number 3

Breakdown: Pirates sell high on a 31 year old and get a good prospect that will immediately be in their top-20.

Thanks for reading “Braves and Pirates Hypothetical Trades”. Thoughts?

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

20 thoughts on “Braves and Pirates Hypothetical Trades”

  1. snowshine, there are definitely lenders out there that will give you the low rates but will qualify you off bank statements, 1099’s, etc., not just taxable income. Which is… weird, but that’s the world we live in.

  2. Ryan,

    Cot’s says Polanco is owed 11 million for this coming (2021) LAST contract season. It has 2 options (22 and 23) Usually, Cot’s would show any buyout in the right column on competitive balance tax compilation. That is set at zero.

    So, is Cot’s wrong? If not, how can he had a negative value higher than his salary? In other words, if he was 2021 Hank Aaron, you might assume you could get no productive value for him, but you wouldn’t put him on the roster.

    Looking at Polanco’s stats, he might be a decent bounce back candidate. And depending on the amounts, the options might add value also. That would probably only be in a 90% positive outcome event.

  3. The thing is, there are a LOT of players who could do better if they just overhauled their whole approach. The difference with Ozuna is that he didn’t just have the eye-popping hard-hit rate and velocity off the bat, he also had a track record of production. (Cue the old Ron Shandler quote, “Once you display a skill, you own it.”) There are a lot of guys like Moran who simply underperformed expectations. Polanco, on the other hand, seems to me like a guy whose injuries have actually diminished his capacity.

    Sad to say, since it helps reflect just how crappy the Buccos truly are, I really don’t want either one.

  4. The best thing the Braves ever got from the Pirates was Chuck Tanner. He was terrible.

    (That’s really unfair: Nate McLouth was not terrible, just not very good. And Willie Stargell apparently was a good batting coach for Chipper Jones.)

  5. And, of course, there was the 1992 almost-trade of Alejandro Pena, Keith Mitchell and a PTBNL for Barry Bonds.

    Braves GM John Schuerholz convinced Pirates GM Ted Simmons to go for it, but when Bucs manager Jim Leyland heard about it, he went nuts & it was nixed.

    Chuck Tanner
    Before we got him for his rough stint in ATL, Tanner was one of the only managers to be traded from one club to another. That’s how he ended up in Pittsburgh. Traded from Oakland for Manny Sanguillen. That Charlie Finley was really something else…

  6. Boy, this new Mets owner really has me thinking. He has deeeep pockets and seems to have been a fan first, owner second. He is gonna spend like Mike Ilitch used to, and it seems like he’s purging the org of the knuckleheads. They really could be a divisional monster very soon. Maybe the silver lining is it forces LM to compete and spend even more?

  7. 9 – That may be true on Swanson and Soroka, but is not official. Agreements are still being announced even though the deadline has passed.

    If it does wind up being correct, of course the Braves are a file and trial team, but that won’t stop them from working on extensions with those two.

  8. As much as we hate on Melky around here, in 2010 his bWAR was -0.3 while McLouth’s was -2.7.

    He gave ATL one of the worst seasons ever (though he had some value in the 2nd half of 09 when he was traded for).

  9. Okay that got me going down the rabbit hole of worst Braves seasons of the last 20+ years and McLouth 2010 truly was special. Here’s the list of worst bWAR back to 2000:

    2000 Bonilla! -1.2
    2001 Brogna -1.0
    2002 Castilla -1.0
    2003 Bragg -1.5
    2004 DeRosa -1.1
    2005 Marte -1.4
    2006 Davies -1.5
    2007 Woodward -1.4
    2008 Frenchy -1.7
    2009 Success! -1.6
    2010 Louth -2.7
    2011 Proctor -0.9
    2012 Hanson (RIP) -1.5
    2013 Bupton -1.7
    2014 Uggla -1.0
    2015 Folty -1.4
    2016 Blair -1.9
    2017 Colon -2.3 (in like 11 starts)
    2018 Flaherty -1.0
    2019 Gausman -1.2
    2020 Touki -0.8

  10. Ambioris Tavarez signed today. Glad they used their available $ on a premium guy. International nightmare ends next year.

  11. Feels weird to take Soroka to arb, but they have their rules, and the players know it, and let the chips fall, I guess. I would be really interested to know how far apart they could possibly be.

  12. Yeah, I wish they’d just give him a hundred million dollars, but that’s why I’m not the GM.

  13. McLouth was not just terrible; he was almost uniquely terrible in the Braves annals of terribleness. It’s not just that he was so awful after the Braves traded for him. He was actually pretty good before the trade, and he could have filled a glaring need for the Braves. But as we know he fell straight over the cliff when he joined our side.

    But JonathanF and I remember the 1980’s and Chuck Tanner. Even Louth can’t hold a candle to that debacle.

    (And because it’s a new year and I’m trying to look forward, the return of Charlie Morton all these years later may serve as some sort of absolution for the trade)

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