The Pirates have placed right-hander Joe Musgrove on the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his right triceps, per a club announcement. The team didn’t offer a timetable on a potential return.
Acquired in the trade that sent Gerrit Cole to Houston, the now-27-year-old Musgrove has established himself as a useful rotation piece in Pittsburgh. From 2018-19, the former top prospect racked up 285 2/3 innings with the Bucs, pitching to a 4.28 ERA (3.75 FIP) with averages of 8.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 1.04 HR/9. The overall return on that blockbuster that landed Musgrove in Pittsburgh hasn’t been great, but Musgrove himself has provided plenty of value already — and he’s still controlled through the 2022 season.
The length of Musgrove’s absence will be especially worth monitoring given that we’re already less than three weeks from the 2020 trade deadline (Aug. 31). A healthy Musgrove, because of that aforementioned club control, could be an appealing trade piece to any number of clubs that have had injuries in their rotation.
The 3-13 Pirates have zero designs on contending in 2020, and with the playoff field expanded to 16 teams, it stands to reason that the few pure sellers out there would see plenty of demand for their players — particularly those controlled beyond the 2020 season. Parting with meaningful young talent to rent a player for perhaps as little as one month could be a tough thing for buyers to do, but any team that acquired Musgrove would be doing so for another two seasons beyond the current campaign.
Musgrove’s numbers in 2020 don’t look particularly appealing, although it’s a sample of just three starts that is skewed by a recent drubbing at the hands of a Twins lineup which ranks fifth in the Majors in runs scored. Interested clubs would be judging Musgrove on more than those three starts alone, and his overall 4.45 ERA and 4.03 FIP in 300 1/3 frames as a Pirate are plenty appealing. He’s obviously not a dramatic front-of-the-rotation upgrade, but with so many clubs just needing solid mid-rotation contributors as injuries have piled up elsewhere, Musgrove would generate legitimate interest if this triceps issue proves minor.