By: Noah Wright
Over the off-season, The Pittsburgh Pirates made a handful of questionable moves. The two in most question were the trading away of rhp Gerrit Cole, and Andrew McCutchen. Now that we’re a little over 2 months into the MLB season, let's look back at how some of The Bucs’ trades have played out, and see if they won, lost, or broke even on their trades.
1.) Pirates acquire Kyle Crick and minor league outfielder from Giants for Andrew McCutchen and cash
One of the questionable trades The Pirates made at the time, The Pirates got relief pitcher Kyle Crick and an outfield prospect for former MVP Andrew McCutchen and cash. So far, Crick has been decent for The Bucs. The righty currently owns a good 1.83 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and 1.271 WHIP in 19.2 innings. He’s also striking out batters at a high rate, with a 9.2 K/9, has only given up 1 homerun for a .5 HR/9 rate, and has held batters to a .208 average against. His only downside so far this year is his slightly high walk rate (4.1 BB/9). Andrew McCutchen has been somewhat underwhelming since coming to SF. On the season, he owns a .248/.351/.403 batting line (all career lows so far) with just 4 home runs, and 25 RBI’s in 242 PA’s. However, McCutchen does have an ok 113 wRC+, and isn’t doing bad with the glove. Since being moved to right field, Cutch has 2 DRS, exactly 0 defensive WAR, and 1.4 UZR.
Verdict: Pirates win this trade
2.) Pirates acquire Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz and a minor league outfielder for Gerrit Cole
At the time, I was ok, but not thrilled with this trade. I thought they could have. gotten a bit more. The Pirates had traded Gerrit Cole who had struggled with the long ball last year for Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, and a minor league outfielder. First, let's examine Gerrit Cole. So far this year, Cole has looked like a Cy Young winner, along with a handful of starter in Houston’s rotation. He currently has a 2.20 ERA, 2.55 FIP, and a very low .833 WHIP in 81.2 innings. He also currently holds a league leading 116 K’s, and 12.8 K/9 rate. Cole also fixed him home run rate to a degree, lowering it from 1.4 HR/9 last year, to just 1 HR/9, is still showing good control, with 2.2 BB/9, and holding opponents to a .171 average. Now let’s look at what The Pirates got in return. The first guy I want to point out is Colin Moran. He’s been solid so far for The Bucs, hitting .281/.257/.433 with 5 homers, and 25 RBI’s in 182 PA’s. The third baseman has been below average with the glove though, with -4 DRS, -.4 defensive WAR, and -2.6 UZR. However, the rookie helps The Pirates in one of their biggest problems last year, clutch hitting, and he’s hitting a healthy .302 with RISP. Joe Musgrove was the one of the 3 major league players The Pirates got in return. Musgrove started the season on The DL, but when he returned to action, he’s more than impressed. In his limited 14 innings, Musgrove has pitched to a .64 ERA, 2.25 FIP, and 1.143 WHIP. He also hasn’t given up a homer yet, has just a 2.6 BB/9 rate, and opponents only have a .231 average against. Michael Feliz has been the weakest link of the 3 players that came over. While Feliz does own a 3.87 FIP, and 11.4 K/9 rate, nothing else is too good. In his 23.2 innings of work, Feliz has a 6.08 ERA, 4.6 walk/9 rate, a 1.52 WHIP, and opponents have a .344 BABIP against him (44 points higher than Joe Musgrove’s opp. BABIP).
Verdict: The Pirates lost this trade right now. While it’s hard to tell how Gerrit Cole would have pitched if he stayed with The Bucs, it’s very likely he would have struggled. However, if Musgrove continues to pitch as he has, I would consider The Pirates lost this trade by a lot less.
3.) Pirates acquire Corey Dickerson from Rays for Daniel Hudson and cash
This was a strange one. After The Rays acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from The Angels, they decided to DFA their only All-Star in 2017, Corey Dickerson. The Pirates took advantage of this, and acquired him from The Rays for relief pitcher Daniel Hudson, who struggled in 2017 with The Bucs. Dickerson has looked like an All-Star so far for The Pirates, with a .313/.347/.490 batting line in 222 PA’s. He’s also got an above average 125 WRC+. To add on, Dickerson has greatly improved his defense. After taking over LF, the lefty has 7 DRS, .5 defensive WAR, and 4.4 UZR. The Rays would go on to release Daniel Hudson after he struggled in Spring Training.
Verdict: The Pirates easily won this trade.