The Pirates and Nationals lined up on a deal yesterday that sent first baseman Josh Bell to Washington for a pair of right-handed pitching prospects, Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean. Some reporting in the aftermath of the deal:
- The Pirates have made no secret about their desire to move players off the big league roster for future value this offseason. Trading Bell certainly doesn’t figure to be Pittsburgh’s final move of this ilk, as general manager Ben Cherington acknowledged. “Likely won’t be the last one. There will probably be more,” Cherington told reporters (including Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). “I’m not saying that to predict anything, that’s the realization, that’s where we are.” Joe Musgrove and Adam Frazier are the Pirates’ most prominent potential trade candidates, but any of Richard Rodríguez, Steven Brault, Chad Kuhl, Chris Stratton and Jacob Stallings could plausibly hold appeal to other teams.
- Crowe will compete for a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation in 2021, Cherington confirmed (via Gorman). That’s hardly a surprise; the 26-year-old spent most of 2018-19 in the high minors and made his MLB debut this past season. Crowe was shelled in his three big league starts, but that’s nowhere near enough of a sample to rule him out as a near-term rotation option. Musgrove, Mitch Keller, Jameson Taillon, Kuhl, Brault and J.T. Brubaker all might be ahead of Crowe on the depth chart at the moment. It seems likely one or more of those players will themselves wind up traded before Opening Day.
- Of the two prospects acquired by the Pirates, Crowe is the more familiar name thanks to his big league experience. Yean, though, was the more appealing get for the Pittsburgh front office, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. That sentiment was shared by the Nationals, it seems. Washington “(doesn’t) believe they gave up a lot to fill a glaring hole” on the roster, writes Dougherty, largely because they were “lukewarm” about Crowe’s future. On the other hand, ESPN’s Buster Olney points out (via Twitter) that Bell’s profile (slugger at the bottom of the defensive spectrum) is the kind that teams have devalued in recent years. For what it’s worth, the MLBTR readership seemed to favor the Nationals’ end of the trade.