The Pirates have received calls from multiple teams regarding left-hander Steven Brault, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. Given the state of the roster in Pittsburgh, it stands to reason that they’d be open to moving any player who is into his arbitration years, which Brault is as of this winter. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s 37-percent method projects Brault to earn $1.5MM in his first trip through the arb process.
Brault, 28, is controlled for three more seasons via arbitration and doesn’t figure to see his arb price reach an outlandish level given this year’s modest salary projection. He’s coming off 42 2/3 innings of a 3.38 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 0.42 HR/9 and a 49.1 percent ground-ball rate. That ERA is a career-best, but it’s not fully supported by other metrics. Brault benefited from a career-low .243 average on balls in play, and fielding-independent marks aren’t as bullish (3.92 FIP, 4.85 xFIP, 5.07 SIERA).
That said, Brault also limited hard contact at the best rates of his career, ranking in the 89th percentile of MLB pitchers in terms of average exit velocity and the 76th percentile in terms of overall hard-hit rate, per Statcast. He cut back on the use of his fastball considerably in 2020, instead throwing his changeup at a career-high 24.1 percent clip. Of the 34 plate appearances Brault finished off with a changeup, opponents posted a .121/.118/.154 batting line with seven strikeouts.
Brault has worked as both a starter and a reliever in the past, splitting his time between the two roles pretty evenly: 45 starts, 55 relief outings. All but one of his 2020 outings were starts, and looking at those 10 trips to the hill he actually pitched quite well. Brault surrendered four runs without recording an out in his lone relief appearance this year. His career ERA as a starter is considerably lower — 4.42 to 5.22 — although fielding-independent marks suggest the discrepancy isn’t so wide.
Whatever gains Brault may have made in 2020 will be subject to various teams’ interpretation of a limited sample size. However, it’s not much of surprise that a 28-year-old lefty with three years of club control, a modest arbitration price tag and some positive indicators in the shortened season is at least generating some inquiries from other clubs. Cost-controlled pitching figures to be coveted even more than ever this winter, given the revenue losses throughout the sport, and the Pirates will surely be open to offers on the majority of their roster after posting the worst record in baseball this past season.
Everyone expect for Hayes, Reynolds or Tucker should be for sale. If you can get back a decent return for Brault move him now.
No one should expect Hayes to be for sale. I doubt Brault will either considering his performance and expected salary. He’s the type of player Nutting wants. Unless an incredible offer comes along he will be in Pittsburgh.
I think he meant ‘Except’, judging by the sentence structure. Hayes is not going anywhere.
Right, I say sell high on Braykt if I’m the Pirates. He’s someone you honestly didnt expect to get this good of results from, so sell high on him while he’s still in demand.
He could lose alot of that luster come this season,and then you’ve missed your window to cash in on what is, let’s face it, a pretty average starter.
Take advantage of his good season, take advantage of the slow market, and the high price for pitching. If your the Pirates, you need to get the best deal you can and move on.
That’s the best way for teams like this to operate if they want to build depth in their farm system to have competitive windows..
FredMcGriff for the HOF
I agree pitching is high when Robbie ray got 8 million than Smyly gets a record payday for himself at 11 million.
Cole Tucker is trash
“Cole Tucker is trash.”
I hate takes like this. He hasn’t done much yet, but he’s a major leaguer. Can anyone else here say that?
I know he isn’t some outstanding player, but I would like to see what he can do. He was drafted in the first round and we have the chance to give him a shot now. If he sucks, he sucks. Better to find that out now when we’re trying to get a high draft pick rather than in 2-3 years when we have guys like Hayes, Cruz, Reyolds, Keller, Bolton, Malone, Gonzales, etc. up in the majors and ready to go for a playoff spot.
Colin Moran was drafted high in the first round. How’s that working out?
That’s the thing with Tucker– the only reason we talk about him is his draft status. If he was an 8th-round pick, his performance and tools wouldn’t merit a serious look.
Great if you ask me. Coming off a good year, starting to show some power and was walking more. If he can show that .277 batting average he did in 2018-2019 and add that power he showed in 2020, he would be a really nice middle of the order bat.
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Tucker needs to be allowed to play shortstop for much of the next year to see if he sinks or swims.They highly tout him and then stick him the outfield where he has never played before.He is a fine shortstop and all he needs to do is hit 250.
Let Newman play second base.
Gonzalez is no more than a decent utilityman.
And should Frazier be moved, it would be a Tucker/Newman keystone combo in ’21.
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SW-In answer to your question,I do agree with most of these posters that if the right deal comes up then make it for anyone with any years in the league.I was somewhat bummed out with the Marte trade but many feel that the return was good.My personal opinion is that if they keep Frazier play him in left field as believe it or not he evidently has fairly good defensive metrics there and the Pirates no longer have a robust outfield to say the least.David Freese said that Frazier could win the batting title some year and I do think that he is a fairly good lead off man.I just think that the best players should play in their natural positions and inasmuch as the Pirates will not contend give them a chance to prove themselves.This moving players around and playing them intermittently is for the birds and just bad baseball managing.Let them get in a groove and then see how they do.
Thank you for the question.
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I also think that Moran is underrated.I think that he is a decent player but if there is no DH then he must play first base and then what do you do with Bell?
I doubt that Moran will ever be an all star but he can make a good living for 7 or 8 years as a fairly decent hitter although he may have to be in a platoon basis.
Needless to say,2021 is a very important year for Josh Bell also.
Who would want Tucker. He makes Rafael Belliard look like Tony Gwynn.
My god give the guy a little Room! Let him play 162 at ss next year. Then talk .
keep most of the starting 8, stallings, bell, fraizer, newman, hayes, Reynolds, Tucker. Listen on Polanco and take what you can get.. A bounce back year for them would give them just enough offense to make a run and it would depend on pitching and defense.
Keep most of the starters. Taillon, Musgrove, Williams, Brault Keller. if you trade someone, Williams would be the ideal to let go. resign archer on a cheap deal with an option. the new pitching staff seemed to work wonders on Brault, a little more time might help the others as well to unlearn what they learned before.
Upgrade the pen. with burdi likely gone for good they need to upgrade the pen for any hope. any trades should be for pen arms to fill the “pipeline” and makes some value signings.
They build value, hope none get hurt and if play offs are a long shot (probable) listen on everyone. If the team doesn’t do well and the players bounce back, more value than now. if they don’t, it doesn’t cost much in terms of trade value or cash.
Brault and Stallings are the only ones that have any real value going into the off season. (that is not named Hayes) If someone give fair value for brault.. strongly consider it. If someone wants Stallings it will be expensive given his control and could be a large set back unless they bring another catcher in somewhere.
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I think that most of these players have value but after down years for many of them they would not fetch what they are really worth.
I do not know what they should do with Polanco.That long looping swing seems like the perfect strikeout weapon for opposing pitchers.He is due to make $14M this year I believe so the problem with trading him is they would have to pay part of the salary,which they do not do,or include good minor leaguers or a pitcher like Williams,which they may very well do.In any event,I think that they should cut bait with him too as he has had enough chances and only one or two reasonably good years.
EDIT: yeah polanco’s oft injured contract is a hard one to take on.
Polanco Williams and some combo of non-high end prospects.
for Cutch and some pen arm.
LOL just dreaming doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
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Cutch May be available in 2022 for sentimental reasons but he had a meh year this year and got hurt last year.I have never really faulted the Pirates for their modus operandae as these older players suffer a drop in production generally in their early thirties when they are starting to make the big bucks.
They may be able to use him to mentor the younger players and provide some pop in the outfield if the price is right.
He was,after all,one of the greatest Pirates ever.
If they resign Kela I think that their present bullpen may be OK if the young pitchers take a step forward and stay healthy.
This seems like the kind of pitcher the Pirates should be loading up on, not trading away.
I disagree I think they should trade pitchers like this the second they develop any bit of value. I’d be wary of Brault being able to repeat the success he had, so they should sell high.
Exactly this JD…That’s the case especially for a guy you didnt expect to get these kind of results from. Don’t be the Tigers, and wait trying to be greedy or get a kings ransom for a decent pitcher.
This is logical but it’s all but this is the Pirates. Brault is on a contract that nutting loves, affordable.
Pirates should buy 6 or 8 pitchers in the first year of arbitration and trade the one they don’t want at the trade deadline. All teams need 6 or 8 starters for depth because of injuries.
Really? What team(s) are selling them?! If you mean trade, what do the Pirates have to acquire them?
There is a lot to like about Brault the person, but as a pitcher he has been tagged a good 5th starter at best most of his career. Maybe he found something in the short season, but I say sell high if the return is actually that. No reason to dump him but I also don’t think he would be a key member when/if Pirates are contenders again.
Caprabuzz: He’s already 28 and this (shortened) season was his BEST. Three years of service for a backend starter/ reliever should get the Pirates a decent (not great) trade pkg. His performance to this point hasn’t been that great. I’m in the camp of: if you can add for the future for a middling career performer, then do it. Can it come back & bite you in the butt? Yes, but probably not.
I mostly agree, not so much load up, but not tear down (yet) no value in players, pick up some value players to fill gaps. but do listen on Brault, frazier and Polanco, get a fair deal strongly consider it.
If they players build value in the season and as a whole the team isn’t doing well.. then maybe tear down.
There is a small crack in the window right now, shouldn’t close it the whole way quite yet.
22 walks in 42 innings? Seems quite high and I feel like his success in the shortened last season was more luck than improvement in skill.
Better sell high then.
Need to start somewhere, he one of the Pirates ‘ and coming pitchers maybe. If you trade all young your pitchers you will never develop any pitchers.
He’s not young, in baseball years. He’s already 28 AND this was his best season to date.
Walks can be fixed, lack of velocity can’t
Yeah, velocity matters. That probably explains why Greg Maddux never amounted to much.
That’s worth $8-mil at least. Ask Robbie Ray.
I’ve never been a fan of Brault. You’re lucky to get 5 innings out of him as a starter, and it seems like he gets hit harder with each turn through the other team’s lineup. I would have thought he’d be more successful as a reliever but the numbers say otherwise.
Bryan Reynolds, Joe Musgrove, Steven Brault and a prospect for Dylan Cease, Carlos Rodon, Zach Collins and Micker Adolfo. Who says no? Pirates shed some money and get players like Cease, Collins and Adolfo to build around.
Reynolds and Musgrove at least have some upside. That group of 4 Sox are trash.
I bet Cease will be better pitching in very weak NL central. I mean Brewers stunk, Cubs couldn’t hit, Reds were ok and Cardinals trotted out journeymen Jed Gyorko and Brad Miller in cleanup spot, Lol. Collins would be best catcher Pirates have. Cease who shows tons of potential, hits 97mph regularly and then 2 top 15 Sox prospects with Rodon pitching for his next contract. But ok.
The problem is your trade is includes Cease and the rest are leftover parts to a broken toy you tried to put back together.
Don’t package them. Musgrove could get some decent parts, at least a top-150 prospect. ATL would be interested.
So would Toronto
Sorry but the Pirates hang up the phone instantly, even with Reynolds’ struggles this past season.
Musgrove is only really accomplished player. I think Reynolds and Brault have upside out of Pittsburgh. 3 out 4 those Sox players were top draft picks. Would Pirates/Sox do Musgrove and Brault for Cease, Rodon, Collins and a prospect?
Also, anyone remember how Pirates got robbed of Glasnow and Meadows? So it’s not always what did you do lately, it’s what will you do going forward.
Definitley the Pirates. If you’re not throwing in at least Vaughn or Madrigal, that’s three players with multiple years of control remaining (Reynonds not even in arbitration yet) for a soon-to-be 25 year old stater with a FIP above 6, a non-tender candidate, a slugging catcher who’s best position might not be catcher and a 24 year old outfielder who has barely played in AA yet.
Vaughn? The WIld Thing? Didn’t know Ricky was still pitching 🙂
The Pirates’ problem is that they don’t have a real plan. A competent FO would already know, virtually by default,
how to handle the decision on a pitcher like Brault. A good FO knows what type of rebuild they are executing, if a fringy SP just entering arbitration suddenly shines more than expected they would already know if he fits their rebuild timeline and is a keeper or a trade chip. It’s consistently making a lot of these types of decisions that gets a team to its goal.
Even an avg fan writing or reading this knows that the Pirates are so far from contention and need too many additional players to even hope that Brault can maximally help the organization by playing for them. His value is in helping them add more and better players who will contribute down the line. Pirates need both quantity and quality as they build a core to ultimately compete.
They definitley have a plan now. Cherington really put a plan in place when he took over, trading Marte and completley rebuilding the development and scouting department. They’re not as far out of contention as many think. Hayes, Cruz and Gonzales look great. Many overlook Tahnaj Thomas, Travis Swaggerty, Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone.
I think Travis Swaggerty and Cody Bolton are two of the most underrated prospects in MLB. Atleast the 2 most underrated in the Pirates System. T.Swaggerty is gonna hit .260-.280 with 12-18 HR’s and steal 20 plus bases. Out of the lead-off spot and playing a good CF.
If we just play everyday:
And just stick to that line-up and their positions. Not all players, especially young players, can move around to different positions and didn’t places in the batting-order every day. Players need consistency and a routine. And Like I said, especially young ones!!
Keep them in those positions and let them play in and out of slumps!! Newman got .308 with 12 HR’s and 16 SB’s in 2019 when they let him play every day and not treat him as a utility player. Not all players can do that, be that utility player and move around everyday. Only certain players are good at it, like pinch-hitting. And it’s usually veteran players. Like Josh Harrison and Ben Zobrist.
Adam Frazier and Erik Gonzalez are not apart of our future. Trade A.Frazier and I like Erik Gonzalez as a back-up infielder. But trade him if the manger is gonna want to ply him and take away major at bats and playing time from C.Tucker or K.Newman. They are apart of our future. Or atleast can be!! E.Gonzalez and A.Frazier are not!!
And with our pitching staff being
We arnt fall off in my opinion. Just keep playing K.Newman, C.Tucker, B.Reynolds, K.Hayes everyday. And trade A.Frazier, E.Gonzalez, J.Bell, J.Musgrove, T.Williams, S.Brault, C.Kuhl, Rich Rod, K.Crick, Cody Ponce at their highest value. None are part of our long-term future.
And sign J.Tallion IMO, right now, to a long term, cheaper extension. I believe J.Tallion will come back from injury and can be our 1A, 1B, starting pitcher with Mitch Keller for the next 5-8 years.
What are Pirates’ fans opinion on Taillon? Do y’all want to keep him? Does he need to be traded? What?
I personally think he can be a top 15 starter in baseball when healthy, but he just isn’t healthy. I’d love to see him ink a 5 year extension with Pitt for little money like 10-15 a year.
Taillon might go down in Pirates history as one of their most “What if” starters. I too think he has top 15 starter potential, but this kid has the worst luck. From two Tommy John surgeries to cancer, you have to feel bad for him.
I’m not too impressed by Newman. His 2019 looks like a fluke given he has awful exit velocites and hard hit rates. Peguero and Gonzales looks like the double-play combo of the future for the Bucs. But like with Tucker, better to find out now if he really is bad rather than later when you’re trying to compete.
I’d like to see Taillon stay. If he can ever stay healthy for a long enough stretch to show it I think he can be a top of the rotation starter.
You might be right on Newman. I really thought they found a keeper in 2019, but he could end up being this decade’s Al Pedrique, Warren Morris or Kevin Polcovich: the one year wonder middle infielder who flops going forward.
Rangers 29: As a Pirates fan, I hope Taillon signs an extension with the team and I think that is the best scenario for both Jameson and the Bucs. Realistically, he isn’t going to be getting a four or five year huge money deal from anyone when he reaches free agency and most, if not all, other teams would pay more than the Pirates would be willing to match on a 1 or two year deal for his services. It makes a lot of sense for both sides to sign him to a 3 year/35 million or 4/48 extension the year before he becomes a free agent. Dollar figures for the contracts are ballpark guestimates based on his injury history and the whole “there’s no way the Pirates are ever going to have one player make 15 million in one season” thing.
He just can’t make hard contact and while there are guys who don’t make hard contact and are still kind of productive, they are few and far between. Plus he’s a negative defender at shortstop so it’s not like we have an Andrelton Simmons on our hands. I was reading “Future Value” and it essentially said if you don’t have the power to make hard contact and consistnetly, then you better be able to field it with the best of them and Newman does neither.
Honestly, anything you get from Taillon in 2021. Unfortunately, he may go down as the Sam Bowie of MLB. Talented, but health has been an issue. Like Bowie, who was picked between Olajuwon and Jordan, he was sandwiched between Harper and Machado.
Honestly anything you get from Taillon in 2021 is gravy.
Any player currently on the Pirates 40 man roster are going to become expensive just when the Pirates should be able to compete. The forward thinking of the front office has to focus their limited resources on their window to compete. As of now, that window of competetion is, at the earliest, 2024. That puts Ke’bryan Hayes and Oneil Cruz at ARB II, Gonazalez should be just before ARB I. These are just three guys.. A core of about seven or eight are critical for a team to truly compete or dominate.. Four more guys are needed..
The Pirates have a nice trio of young SP’s coming in Priester, Malone and Mlodzynski.. The Pirates need five more of these guys.. and they may have them.. but it is certain..Brault isn’t one of them..
Putting a plan like this together..starts with trades of fringe ML guys like Brault. So, the Pirates FO, announces Brault is being considered for trade.. he’s nothing special as far as ML SP’s go.. but, in a world where SP’s are scarce, he has some value.. but he could bring back two or three guys that can join the six names from above. They are deep minor leaguers who have huge upside.. such as:
As an example, the Pirates should be looking at guys like Daniel Espino, Ethan Hankins Tyler Freeman and George Valera from the Indians.. (note: Cleveland has no interest in Brault.. the type of prospects the Pirates should be considering is the purpose of the example).
It’s only with a focus on filling their roster with a massive wave of talent can the Pirates expect to truly compete.
Generally agree on all points. Pirates need to add future talent and they almost have a full 40 man roster entirely comprised of players who won’t be a part of the next winning pirates teams. So they should trade pretty much everyone and stockpile some talent. The Pirates farm isn’t among the best in the league but there is enough there to start seeing some pieces fall into place, particularly on the pitching front. In my 35 years of life/Pirate fandom the team has had expectations going into a season of being at least a .500 club roughly 7-8 of those years which has made it pretty easy as a fan to just punt on a season and hope to build a better future. Hopefully the Cherington regime actually does punt on the season and build for a better future instead of earnestly trying to patch holes on the roster with band aid type solutions trying to go from 15+ games back and last place to 8-10 games back and 4th place when the season ends.
To be fair, it’s a new front office that get get a real chance to evaluate anyone thanks to no minor league season and a shortened majors season.
LOL, no he hasn’t.
I didn’t realize he had a decent year last year… and he can sing the National Anthem so… he’s a two-way player.
He actually can hit fairly well too. Had been used as a PH in the past with some success. You could actually call him a 3 way player.
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I had read somewhere a couple of years ago that he holds the Pirates all time record for most at bats before striking out.
I didn’t realize his ERA was that low in 2020. Limited hard contact, ground ball pitcher, with a slight jump in strikeouts, albeit to a level that still isn’t high, cheap and controllable. Makes sense that teams are interested, but he probably won’t be much better than his 2020 numbers.
Hope the interest is genuine and not just kicking tires. Genuine interest would have the potential to add some quality to the mix in the minors. Kicking the tires would have the potential to trade to make a trade and offer no real future help. We will get to see how the new regime operates and hope that they will make trades for benefit and not just trade for the sake of trading.
He’ll be a back end starter wherever he goes. I could see him in the WAS rotation, but the Red Sox need bodies. Very hard to project a return because Brault, for better or worse, isn’t much of a difference maker at this point.
There’s interest, but what’s being offered probably isn’t overwhelming. Might be better to hold.
You’ll never get anywhere sacrificing what little you have in 2021 for some pipe dream in 2025. Injuries, poor performance, improvement of other divisional rivals…..all those factor in.
So Brault’s a #3 or 4 starter; maybe only a #5. But the ceiling (not saying he gets there) is a Ryan Yarborough type; the floor is that #5 starter. That really isn’t too bad for 1.5M.
Not to mention that if the gods align for him in the front half of 2021, they’ll be knocking down the door for him at the trading deadline.
You’re not getting Wander Franco for Steve Brault. So keep him and see what you’ve got.
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The Pirates’ starters really came on the last four or five starts each made at the end of the year.Brault is a fine hitter which is especially important if there is no DH.Hopefully Cherington will continue to keep him unless he gets a very good trade offer which he would need to accept for long term reasons.
Any time a player does anything even remotely good he should immediately be traded.
Repeat enough times and you’ll have the most powerful team ever assembled.
Why doesn’t everybody just do that.
Then we’ll have the 30 most powerful teams ever assembled.
Look what we got for Dyson and the only good thing he did was show up at the stadium
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TJ- With Dyson,I would change your wording slightly to use the word “bad” instead of “ good”.
Have to consider the coaching changes as well, before we dismiss quality performances as a fluke. Searage and Hurdle made Cole look like a mid-rotation guy and Glasnow looked like a hopeless bust. It’s not surprising to see some of the pitchers take a step forward with the new coaching staff. Not saying Brault is going to turn into an ace, but it’s certainly possible that he was better than what we we’re seeing under Searage’s one-approach philosophy.
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In Searage’s defense he and Benedict seemed to do much better with veterans who came the Pirates and got better than with establishing young pitchers.
Give me one good reason why anyone would even think to sniff this guy unless they think he has pOTeNtiAl.
New pitching coach. Brault was under the same coaching in his MLB career.. New pitching staff “MAY” have found how to take better advantage of his stuff.
Will Taillon coming back next year the projected rotation would be, Taillion, Musgrove, Brault, Williams and Keller. a resign of Archer on a bounce back contract. would fill out the top five if one should be moved.
I hate to see Musgrove, Williams or Brault go, but…. Brault has some fair return value. In the business of baseball makes sense. get a decent return, go for it.
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Williams pitched like Orel Hershiser in 2018 and was decent before but was bad in 2019 and 2020.Which Williams is he?They May even non tender him at $3.5 M but I think that that would be a mistake.He may be the one to trade as I think that Kuhl proved that he was still a good pitcher in his comeback this year.
I am not sure how to value Archer as sometimes these pitchers cannot really pitch after major surgery.It may be time to admit that it was a bad trade and move on.