Pirates righty Keone Kela exited last Friday’s relief outing due to forearm tightness, and the right-hander still hasn’t thrown since that departure, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk tells reporters (Twitter links via MLB.com’s Adam Berry and The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel). As for righty Joe Musgrove, who is out with triceps inflammation, he’s set to pitch in a simulated game in the next couple of days.
The injury status of both righties is of particular note with the Aug. 31 trade deadline looming Monday. As a pending free agent on a last-place club, Kela in particular seems like a lock to be moved — if he’s healthy. At this point, it’s not at all clear that’s the case, and there’s minimal time for him to demonstrate his health for potential suitors.
The return for rental players is already expected to be diminished in 2020 given that the post-deadline portion of the schedule is now only four weeks, as opposed to two months in a conventional season. Questions about Kela’s health will only further drive down the price, but there’s little reason for the Pirates to hang onto him, given that he’s not a candidate to receive a qualifying offer this winter.
There’d be less urgency to move Musgrove, but had he been healthy, it’s easy to see him landing among the game’s more coveted arms. Teams are extra-motivated to acquire players controlled beyond the 2020 season, and Musgrove, who has cemented himself as a solid third or fourth starter, is controllable through 2022. The rebuilding Pirates aren’t going to be in position to contend by that time, so shopping Musgrove would make plenty of sense. Due to what is already more than a three-week IL stint, however, it seems likelier that he’ll be marketed in the offseason. A trade could technically come together if he returns by Aug. 31 or even if he’s still on the injured list, but as with Kela, health concerns could reduce what other teams are willing to offer.
Elsewhere on the roster, Tomczyk revealed that slugger Colin Moran is currently in concussion protocol after being involved in a collision at first base Monday. He’s out to a blistering start to the 2020 season and could’ve been viewed as a trade candidate himself, but he’ll likely need to be cleared and return to play if any team is to show interest. Moran is defensively limited, to say the least, but he’s hitting .259/.326/.531 (129 wRC+) and is controllable through the 2023 season.